Shoppers at U.S. grocery store chains like Food Lion, Stop & Shop, Giant, and Hannaford are actually sending their money to the same corporate owner as shoppers at European chains such as Albert Heijn. The conglomerate that owns all these brands, Ahold Delhaize, just recently came into being through the merger of two existing owners. With this merger, it immediately became the fourth largest grocery retailer in the United States, where it expects to earn approximately 63 percent of its profits. Yet the corporate headquarters are firmly European, reflecting its global view. With this perspective, the company hopes to achieve substantial economies of scale, such as by purchasing products in massive volumes. It has no immediate plans to change the names of its stores though, such that even as consumers around the world are targeted with similar products by the same corporate owner, they still can enjoy the familiarity of their local grocery store. That’s an appealing combination, as reflected in the company’s nearly 3 percent growth in U.S. sales since the merger took place.
Source: Stephan Wilmot, The Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2016