Zwarte Piet change won't dent revenue: Albert Heijn

According to experts, the cozy, traditional Dutch image of "our Appie" (a service of Albert Heijn), received a dent after the announcement that Zwarte Piet will no longer be used in their campaigns.

Despite this, experts think that the revenue won't suffer.

After the announcement that Piet will be removed from commercials, many customers decided that they have had it with Albert Heijn. The phones are ringing off the hook at the head office. A boycott all is circulating on twitter. Even an innocent quiz on Facebook turned into an eruption of curses, complaints and announcements that people are going to start buying at other stores.

Experts judge that Albert Heijn could not have prevented these angry reactions. According to image expert Alex van der Zwart (Concernz), the discussion on Zwarte Piet is so tense that emotional responses will happen no matter what the company does. "You have either the opponents or supporters of Piet chasing you. You just can't keep everyone happy."

Paul Stamsnijder (The Reputation Group) concludes that these emotional reactions won't have an effect on sales and that customers won't really stay away. "Although people are now announcing that they will go to Jumbo or Dirk, I think that only a few people will follow through. If that individual is already doing it anyway. People are creatures of habit and won't go out of their way for their groceries."