Zaandam, The Netherlands -- Ahold plans to significantly expand its Peapod presence in the U.S. market.
"Peapod is expected to double its capacity in the U.S. in 2014," Dick Boer, Ahold CEO, told analysts during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call.
"We're planning to open a semi-automated New Jersey warehouse during this summer of 300,000 sq. ft. — clearly focusing on the demands of the New York City market. As many as 21 million people live within New York City's boundaries, Boer said, "so enormous opportunity for us to move in that market — we're already there, but to accelerate that growth."
Boer reported that Peapod would also concentrate on expanding its number of pick-up points by 200 by the end of the year.
Furthering its commitment to online strategies, Ahold recently opened a state-of-the-art digital innovation lab in Chicago, Boer said. "[This] allows us to attract top talent to help us shape the future."
Ahold USA on Thursday reported net sales of $6 billion, down 2.1%. Identical sales dropped 2.1% (2% excluding gasoline) reflecting the sales effect of Hurricane Sandy last year and a challenging fourth quarter, the company stated. For the full year, net sales were $26.1 billion, up 1.1%. Identical sales were up 0.2% (0.3% excluding gasoline).