Ahold sees boost in Q1, H1 sales
AMSTERDAM — Royal Ahold’s U.S. subsidiary saw net sales rise 3.4% in light of challenging market conditions, the retailer reported last week.
Ahold USA, which consists of such brands as Stop & Shop, Giant Carlisle, Giant Landover, Martin’s and Peapod, experienced a 2.2% increase in identical sales (2.2% excluding gasoline) benefiting from the timing of Easter and a result of promotional activities across the banners. Underlying operating margin was 4.3%, compared with 4.1% last year. The company attributed its strong margin performance to cost improvements, ongoing operational efficiencies and lower health and welfare costs during the quarter.
Meanwhile, for the first half of the fiscal year, net sales for Ahold USA were $13.8 billion, an increase of 3.1%. Identical sales were up 1.7% (1% excluding gasoline). Underlying operating margin was 4.2%, compared with 4.4% last year.
"We saw ongoing high levels of promotional activity in both the United States and the Netherlands with retail price inflation coming down, particularly in the United States," Ahold CEO Dick Boer said. "Our businesses in the United States achieved strong margins through stringent cost control. We expect market conditions to remain difficult and are cautious about the potential impact of rising food commodity costs, particularly in the United States for the balance of the year. We are confident that we are well on track to deliver on our strategy and we will continue to invest in growth."
Boer added that the company was pleased with the conversion of 15 Genuardi’s stores to Giant Food Stores, a transaction that was completed earlier this year.
OPI names president, GM
LOS ANGELES — OPI Products has announced the appointment of John Heffner as the brand’s new president and general manager. With this change, George Schaeffer remains founder and CEO. Suzi Weiss-Fischmann will retain her title as EVP and artistic director.
"We’re thrilled to have John join the OPI family, as the nail industry is absolutely booming. OPI has been experiencing double-digit growth both domestically and internationally," stated Schaeffer. "In welcoming John, Suzi and I will be able to increase our focus on growing the brand both from an innovative standpoint and in new markets. We’re not going anywhere; we plan on being at OPI for years to come."
Heffner will manage day-to-day operations at OPI’s North Hollywood headquarters, working alongside Schaeffer. Schaeffer, who will continue to travel for the company, will primarily target ongoing development, globalization and visibility of the OPI brand. Weiss-Fischmann will continue her role in leading the company’s artistic direction.
Heffner most recently served as president and CEO for Creative Nail Design, where he worked for 14 years. Prior to joining CND, Heffner held multiple sales and marketing roles within Chesebrough Ponds USA, as well as the Procter and Gamble.
Meijer takes action against hunger
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer will double match every customer’s $10 Simply Give donation made Sept. 2 to 8 in support of Hunger Action Month.
The Simply Give Week double match is part of a $1 million donation to the retailer’s 2012 Simply Give program, which aims to replenish the shelves of nearly 200 food pantries in its five-state region campaign.
"Hunger is a problem that continues to grow in all of our communities," Meijer co-chairman Hank Meijer announced. "This contribution shows our commitment to hunger relief in the Midwest and applauds the continued generosity our customers and team members have shown their neighbors."
The Simply Give program encourages customers to purchase $10 Meijer food pantry donation cards, which then are converted into Meijer gift cards and given to the local food pantry selected by the store.
Throughout Simply Give Week, each customer’s donation will stretch even further: For every $10 donation card purchase, Meijer will give $20 to the program, resulting in a total $30 donation.
The Simply Give program runs three times a year for about ten weeks; the fall 2012 campaign runs through Oct. 6.
Also in September, Meijer plans once again to expand its food rescue program with the addition of eight food banks in the Midwest. Participating food banks and pantries pick up fresh food — meat, cheese and select deli and bakery items — from their local Meijer store two to three days per week. An estimated 2,400 products are available to donate to food banks.
Nearly 700,000 pounds of food, which accounts for more than 527,700 meals, were donated by Meijer in 2011 to local food banks.