It’s the same story here in The Hague.
AH is far too dominant. You have to travel to another part of the city in order to find an alternative. Now if AH had a wide selection of products and good customer service, that wouldn’t be such a problem. But as it is, it’s simply terrible. The personnel is rude and incompetent, the floors on the produce section are dirty and present a serious risk of slipping, primarily they sell their own brand, which is of poor quality, but is packaged to look almost exactly alike the A-brand products… which are usually sold out. Unilever even sued them for trademark violations, but inexplicably lost the case on 9 of the 11 counts, although the judge did rule that AH acted on the very edge of what is permissible. And that perfectly sums up AH. Their way of doing business borders on illegality and immorality.
Personally I avoid them whenever I can. I do make the effort to travel for miles to reach an alternative. But for a lot of people that’s simply not an option. A few years ago it was actually better, when we had the Konmar as an alternative. Of course when they closed up shop, it was AH that took over their stores. A move that should never have been approved by the competition authority, but alas in their ‘investigation’ they considered the likes of Lidl and Aldi as viable alternatives to AH. I would assume they also consider an apple to be a viable alternative to an orange. AH apples and oranges of course. 😉