Retail in brief | Zur Rose, AS Watson, Ahold Delhaize

Retail in brief | Zur Rose, AS Watson, Ahold Delhaize

23 October 2019 - Deborah Wilkes

Zur Rose has recruited its first-ever chief strategy and digital officer and released financial results, while AS Watson and Ahold Delhaize have announced people changes.

Zur Rose creates new post

Switzerland's Zur Rose Group – the e-commerce pharmacy that owns DocMorris – has recruited Betül Susamis Unaran as its first-ever chief strategy and digital officer.

Unaran will join Zur Rose on 1 November 2019 from Novartis Pharmaceuticals where she is global head of digital medicines. She has also worked for McKinsey & Company and Procter & Gamble.

News of Unaran’s appointment came as Zur Rose reported sales of CHF1.16 billion (USD1.17 billion) in the first nine months of 2019.

The company's sales, which include the recently-acquired Medpex business, were up by 30.2% as reported compared to the same period a year earlier. In local currencies, sales were up by 32.4%

Excluding Medpex, sales were up by 12.5% as reported and by 14.7% in local currencies.

Zur Rose said sales at its German business had increased by 50.2% in local currencies to CHF721 million.

During 2018, Zur Rose expanded its presence in Germany by acquiring the e-commerce business of Medpex in a deal worth around EUR120 million (USD135 million) plus earnouts (click here to read the News story). The company also announced a "strategic collaboration" with omnichannel pharmacy apo-rot (click here to read the News story).

Zur Rose said its preparations for the introduction of e-prescriptions in Germany were moving ahead. It has just announced a strategic cooperation with HÄVG, the organisation that manages the contracts for the German Association of General Practitioners.

Sales at Zur Rose's Swiss business increased by 5.0% to CHF409 million in the first nine months of 2019, while sales in the rest of Europe were CHF27.7 million.

In 2018, Zur Rose acquired the Spanish managed e-commerce platform Promofarma (click here to read the News story). Zur Rose recently announced that it was moving into France by acquiring the Doctipharma marketplace from Lagardère for an undisclosed sum (click here to read the News story).

Commenting on prospects for the whole of 2019, Zur Rose said sales, including Medpex, were expected to increase by over 30% to around CHF1.6 billion.

AS Watson expands Ngai’s remit

AS Watson Group has appointed Malina Ngai as chief executive officer of AS Watson (Asia and Europe), the major holding company of AS Watson Group companies.

The health and beauty retailer said Ngai would hold the post in addition to her existing positions as board member and chief operating officer of AS Watson Group.

Dominic Lai, AS Watson Group’s managing director, said Ngai would “continue to support me in formulating growth strategies, work closely with all operating businesses in executing the strategies to deliver the group vision in sales and profit, and building a truly consumer-centric organisation”.

Ngai joined the Hong Kong-based retailer from its parent company CK Hutchison in 2001 and was appointed chief operating officer in December 2013.

Ahold hires new finance chief

Ahold Delhaize has hired Natalie Knight as executive vice president finance and a member of its executive committee with effect from 1 March 2020.

The Netherlands-based retailer said Knight would be nominated as chief financial officer and a member of its Management Board at the Annual General Meeting in April 2020.

Knight will replace Jeff Carr who will leave Ahold Delhaize when his current term expires in April 2020.

She joins Ahold Delhaize from the Danish dairy company Arla Foods where she was chief financial officer. She has also worked for sportswear company Adidas.

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