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2013 Power 50: Dick Boer, No. 4 in Traditional Supermarket Operators

Dick Boer
Dick Boer

Dick Boer believes in the course he’s set for Ahold.

The chief executive officer of the Dutch-based retailer in 2011 set a strategy he called “Reshaping Retail” that contemplated using Ahold’s local brands with its global size and scale to grow behind shopper demands for convenience and value. The strategy emphasizes improved loyalty, wider geographic reach and broader product offerings, supported by cost reductions and improved relationships with employees and communities. To ensure those efforts resound worldwide, Boer crafted a series of promises around Ahold’s brands — “better place to work, better place to shop, better neighbor” — that he said allows all Ahold’s banners to share a common language.

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“Dick has set a clear strategic direction for Ahold in an industry that continues to evolve at a lightning pace. With Dick at the helm, we are pushing forward to elevate our stores to be a better place to shop for our customers, a better place to work for our associates and a better neighbor to the local communities we serve in Europe and on the East Coast of the U.S.,” James McCann, chief operating officer of Ahold USA, told SN in prepared comments. “Dick loves the grocery retail business and it shows.”

As a series of statements — six pillars of a brand strategy, three promises and a “virtuous circle” business model that invests cost reductions into stronger brands, stronger brands into higher sales, and higher sales to more cost efficiency — Boer’s vision for Ahold is simple.


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In execution, it’s quite ambitious and can be seen today in initiatives such as dedicated pick-up points throughout the East Coast and Chicago, and a new automated warehouse in Jersey City, N.J., to support Ahold’s Peapod Internet grocery service. Ahold has a long history in e-commerce. In Europe, it pioneered the development of dedicated pick-up points for Albert Heijn stores and more recently acquired leading “pure-play” Internet retailer In the U.S., Ahold has owned Peapod since 2000.

Boer’s vision for Ahold is to build on the company’s leadership in digital shopping — because it not only serves to meet customers’ needs for convenience, but because it helps to solidify customer loyalty and win incremental sales. Ahold’s card data shows that shoppers who try home delivery tend to shop more often, and spend more per trip, than the average shopper.

Boer also was recently named co-CEO of the Consumer Goods Forum, the global network of retailers and manufacturers.

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