- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 22, 2007

4:07 p.m.

Giant Food’s parent company said yesterday it plans to lower prices on 75 percent of products and reduce promotions in its U.S. stores by the end of next year.

The move is part of Dutch company Ahold’s attempt to rebound struggling sales in its U.S. chains, which include Giant stores in the Washington area, called Giant-Landover; a Giant chain based in Carlisle, Pa.; and Stop & Shop stores.

Ahold already has lowered prices on 15 percent of Giant products, including cleaning, paper and baby products, as well as produce. Giant has been airing commercials highlighting the lower prices since late last year.

Ahold Chief Executive Officer Anders Moberg said the program started with cuts to produce prices because of consumer research.

“It was clear that our prices were too high and that customers valued freshness ahead of variety,” he said during a press conference in Amsterdam yesterday.

He said the stores have improved the supply chain to increase freshness by about two days and reduced the number of produce items sold by 30 percent.

“Customers are reacting positively to the improvements we have made,” Mr. Moberg said without adding specifics.

Across the store, Giant plans to focus more on low prices and less on sales.

“They are concerned with reforming the company from a high-level format driven by promotions to an everyday low price,” said Ton Van Ooijen, a Kepler Equities analyst.

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