MONTVALE, N.J. -- A&P's store banner has gone to Holland.
The banner has found new use at a 113-store chain of supermarkets called Hermans Groep, Baarn, Netherlands. Hermans is a subsidiary of Tengelmann Group, Mulheim, Germany. Tengelmann also holds a controlling interest in A&P here. Several months ago, Hermans tested the idea of using the A&P name in Holland by converting four of its Jac. Hermans supermarkets to the A&P identity. William Pijper, Hermans' vice president of supermarkets, told SN the initial trial of the A&P name was so successful that at the end of the year, 32 stores had been converted.
And, he said, by mid-1995 a total of 83 stores may be changed to the new A&P name and format, with more conversions possible as the year progresses. Pijper said the decision to switch to the new store name was made to create an entirely new store image for the Jac. Hermans chain and to highlight the program of upgrading stores and converting them to the discount format. Facilitating use of the A&P store name here was the fact that Jac. Hermans stores had used the A&P name for some time on a store-brand line of quality products sold at favorable prices. Christian Haub, A&P's president and chief operating officer, told SN the Dutch operation was in search of "a new approach in their market to generate new interest.
"Their market research has shown that one of the greatest strengths they had in their stores was the A&P private-label brand. "They thought, 'Why not convert the whole store and capitalize on the established name?' "Now they're doing very well, running substantially ahead in sales vs. sales prior to the conversion. If the success continues, they're considering converting every store in their chain to the A&P format. "It's really a complete concept, including trucks, store personnel and store decor. They've tried to integrate a lot of ideas they picked up in the United States."
According to Pijper, augmented use of the A&P brand name has been instrumental in the converted stores' success. Prior to the store conversions, the Jac. Hermans chain had used about 70 products under the A&P brand, but converted stores offer about 400 under the name. Also, converted stores make use of about 50 Master Product items, an upscale store brand introduced by Tengelmann in October 1993. Pijper predicted that by 1996, the new stores' A&P-brand count will nearly double to 700 and that the Master Product line will double to about 100.
The A&P line is generating roughly 15% of total store sales. The company expects the line to generate 25% of total sales by the end of 1996.