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Ahold to acquire Spar in Czech Republic

BY Antoinette Alexander

ZAANDAM, the Netherlands — Ahold has entered into an agreement to acquire Spar’s business in the Czech Republic. The acquisition includes 50 stores of which 36 are compact hypers and 14 are supermarkets.

The acquisition, which has and enterprise value of CZK 5,245 million, will be funded from existing cash resources and is subject to merger clearance.
 
This acquisition is in line with Ahold’s strategy to expand its geographic reach in both current and adjacent markets, and focus on leading market positions. Ahold has had a presence in the Czech Republic since 1991 and has developed the business under the Albert brand name.
 
"Our Czech Republic Albert’s business has continued to successfully improve the performance of its business during recent years. The acquisition of Spar’s business in the Czech Republic is an important strategic step and marks an exciting new phase for Ahold in the Czech Republic. It allows us to combine two companies that have a natural fit and that share a continuous focus on quality and value, and becoming a better place to shop for our customers. It will provide our large base of local suppliers access to an even bigger market, and I look forward to welcoming the associates to our company,” stated Dick Boer, CEO of Ahold.
 
Ahold currently operates 284 Albert supermarkets and compact hypers in the Czech Republic. Following the acquisition of Spar, the company will have more than 330 stores.

 

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The Travoltification of America

BY Rob Eder

“Rosie Edbrards.”

That, according to the Adele Dazeem Generator is the “Travoltified” version of my name.

Apparently, I am one of about 10 mil­lion unique users who, as this issue of DSN went to press, had entered their name into the interactive name genera­tor game that Slate.com posted to its site within hours of John Travolta having butchered singer Idina Menzel’s name at the Oscar Awards. That item, accord­ing to New York Times media reporter Leslie Kaufman, was “the most viewed article ever in Slate’s 18-year history,” she wrote in a March 6 article.

Granted, I am not much for awards shows, and prior to logging into Slate’s name “Travoltifier,” I must confess I had no idea who Idina Menzel even was, but I knew about the “Adele Dazeem” gaffe long before I knew anything about who won any of the actual Oscars. And that’s not because I start my days reading Slate.com. As the kids say these days, my Face­book was “blowing up” on Oscar night.

Joshua Benton, director of Harvard University’s Nieman Journalism Lab, calls it “the gamification of content. Take the same dynamics that lead games and social sharing to be addictive and use them in a way to connect to content,” Benton told the Times.

In the news business, some call these types of games “blatant grabs” for view­ers and say they come at the expense of real news. I have never been one of these news purists. The very best journalism is worthless if no one reads it. You can call it lowbrow if you want to — Slate.com actually categorized the Travoltifier as one of its “Low Concept” features on the site. But there is no denying the ability of these types of devices to breakthrough in a sea of online content providers.

Just think about that for a second: Amid countless reports about Oscar night, Slate.com got 10 million unique users to visit the site and become ex­posed to the other 50-odd stories the site posts in an average news day. There is a lesson there for every brand — re­tailers, CPG companies and content providers alike.


Rob Eder is the editor in chief of The Drug Store News Group, publishers of Drug Store News and DSN Collaborative Care magazines. You can contact him at reder@lf.com.

MORE ARTICLES FROM ROB EDER >

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Study: Top 5 social media trends for retail

BY Marianne Wilson

Pinterest will emerge as a stronger alternative to Facebook and Twitter, according to global research and analytics firm Blueocean Market Intelligence. The company analyzed the online data of the nation’s top 100 retailers from September through December 2013 as part of its ongoing study assessing the business impact of top retailers’ social media efforts. Blueocean Market Intelligence predicts the following top social media trends for the retail industry in 2014:

•    The traditional shopping experience is evolving as more consumers move online. While the holiday season still provides many opportunities for shiny marketing promotions and campaigns, digital advances have changed the game. Retailers have more flexibility on how and when they approach customers. Last year’s Black Friday was not just limited to Friday — retailers offered deep discounts days before to gain more customers. Increased competition and customers’ lack of patience with crowds and long lines will continue to push them online, away from brick-and-mortar storefronts.

•    Pinterest will emerge as a stronger alternative to Facebook and Twitter. During last year’s holiday season, Twitter referrals experienced the most growth with a 24% increase year over year, followed by Pinterest (17%) and Facebook (12%). While Facebook led the battle among social influencers in the online space, Pinterest emerged as the top social channel for “top of the funnel” advertising with its fast-growing referral traffic and higher conversion rates.

•    Successful retailers will integrate omnichannel    communications. Cementing an omnichannel strategy will continue to be crucial, and online-plus-mobile will equal strong sales. According to the Adobe Digital Index 2013, consumers shopped 40% more from their smartphones this past holiday season than in 2012. Retailers that identify opportunities to create a more a seamless experience with consistent communications across all platforms, as well as improved inventory and transparent pricing, will create a more fulfilling experience for customers.

•    Content marketing will increasingly rely on social media to drive engagement. Brands will move away from a one-way content marketing push, instead leveraging social media to drive engagement, timely conversations and personalized customer interactions. However, 2014 will also bring a shift from text to more visually oriented elements, such as video and pictures, affecting data storage requirements and even broader types of content. Organizations that want to harness data from social intelligence will need to acknowledge unstructured data and determine how it can be converted and made relevant for today’s business strategies.

•    Social shopping will become a reality. Social media engagement has traditionally focused on customers in the consideration phase of the purchase cycle. However, we can now expect companies to launch greater social shopping initiatives by leveraging virtual currencies, such as Bit-coins. Social shopping will not just occur on independent platforms, but will be integrated into social platforms. With a quick click, share or Tweet, customers will be able to purchase a product or service, impacting how organizations track their logistics, customer verifications and inventory management.

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