- Ahold Delhaize USA announced Wednesday that it plans to sell its FreshDirect online grocery service to rapid delivery firm Getir.
- The grocery company did not disclose the terms of the deal.
- Ahold Delhaize said it is offloading the grocery e-commerce service, which serves the greater New York tri-state region, to focus on omnichannel — an area that the company sees as its “biggest growth opportunity,” Ahold Delhaize USA CEO JJ Fleeman said in a statement.
Ahold Delhaize’s move to divest FreshDirect comes less than three years after the Dutch supermarket chain agreed to acquire a majority stake in the e-commerce company. But while the deal to take over FreshDirect had seemed like a natural way for Ahold Delhaize to rapidly grow its presence in what was a booming online grocery arena, changing market conditions appear to have prompted the grocer to rethink its strategy.
In announcing the sale on Wednesday, Ahold Delhaize executives indicated that they had concluded that the company needed to step up its focus on both in-store and digital experiences — and that FreshDirect was standing in the way of strengthening its position as an omnichannel retailer.
“This was a difficult decision, especially given FreshDirect’s rich history in the New York City area,” Fleeman said. “However, our strength as a grocery retailer in the U.S. is the true omnichannel experience — a combination of online and in-store — where we have leading brands and market share, strong store density and online presence, and a deep heritage of customer loyalty and relationships.”
FreshDirect’s customers will not see any disruption as a result of the company’s sale to Getir, according to the announcement. All shoppers will receive their orders from the same delivery personnel, and services like FreshDirect’s DeliveryPass subscription offering will continue to operate as normal, Ahold Delhaize said.
FreshDirect had been on a growth path when Ahold Delhaize came calling in 2020, but the online company’s operations hit turbulence as the surge in grocery e-commerce driven by the pandemic lost momentum. In mid-2022, FreshDirect stopped providing service in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia in order to “better serve our customers in the tri-state market surrounding New York City.”
Ahold Delhaize clearly sees its hundreds of East Coast stores as its primary assets in reaching U.S. consumers across channels. In a reflection of that, the company’s Giant Food banner decided this summer to close three e-commerce fulfillment centers in the mid-Atlantic region and move to what a Giant spokesperson described as a “localized fulfillment model” to handle online orders.
While Ahold Delhaize is staking its future on an omnichannel strategy with firm physical store roots, Getir is focused squarely on the digital space. Still, Getir’s plans to acquire FreshDirect represent a shift for the Turkey-based company, which built its name as an ultrafast delivery company but is now moving into a more conventional grocery delivery business that offers everything from next-day to express delivery.
Getir arrived in the U.S. in November 2021 when it launched its service in Chicago. The company moved into the New York City and Boston regions the following month. However, the company was forced to slow its expansion plans and cut staff as demand for the super-fast delivery services Getir has specialized in dropped sharply.