International Expansion

Ahold in U.S.A.

In the United States, Ahold operates six supermarket chains--BI-LO, Giant Food Stores, Finast, Edwards, Mayfair and Tops--running over 650 stores. With the latest acquisition of Stop & Shop earlier this year, Ahold has moved into top five US supermarket organizations.

Ahold's six US chains share certain facilities: The American Sales Company, a distribution center in Lancaster, NY, which supplies all of the store chains; and Ahold Information Services, an information processing center based at BI-LO's headquarters, which handles administrative processing for all those companies (Garry, M., 1996).

Ahold's U.S. Acquisitions

ChainLocation# of storesSales

1977 Bi-LoMauldin, SC203 $1.9 billion

1981 GiantCarlisle, PA61 $1.3 billion

1988 FinastMaple Heights, OH $43900 million

1991 TopsBuffalo, NY $1681.6 billion

1995 MayfairNew Jersey, NY $28250 million

1996 Stop & Shop MA, CO, RI $1764.1 billion


The Tops Market chain was acquired by Royal Ahold in 1991. It is the dominant food retailer in Buffalo, NY, serving a population of some three million people in western and central New York and northwest Pennsylvania. The stores that comprise tops Markets retail operations include five categories: Tops International Super Centers, tops Super Centers, tops Food Markets, Vix Deep Discount and Wilson Farms Neighborhood convenience stores.


Finast's store network was part of First National Supermarkets, which acquired by Ahold in 1988. At the time, Finast in Ohio operates as the Ohio division of First National, while the Eastern division operated Edwards and Finast stores. Years later, the two divisions were split into separate operating companies under the Ahold USA banner.

The chain serves customers in the greater Cleveland and Northeast Ohio markets. A well targeted low-price, low-cost strategy made Finast the area's major food retailer.


Edwards Super Food Stores was evolved from First National in 1993. The stores are located in New Jersey and are serving an affluent, densely populated market in the Northeast. In 1996, the 28 Mayfair stores will be integrated.


Giant was acquired by Ahold in 1981, operating about 70 supermarkets in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The store chain ranks as top-performing supermarkets and its sales are among the highest in its markets. Also, the company is on a major expansion phase.


BI-LO, built on a commitment to low prices, high quality, and excellent service, is a market leader in southeastern United States. By mid-1995, Bi-Lo operated over 260 supermarkets and continued upgrading and remodeling stores. Integration of Red Food supermarkets into BI-LO's store chain took longer than planned because of restructuring the computer systems and rebuilding consumer loyalty.

Ahold in Netherlands

Ahold operates six store chains with a total of some 1,600 outlets: Albert Heijn (supermarkets), Gall & Gall (liquor stores), Etos (health and beauty care stores), Jamin (confectionery stores), De Tuinen (nature products) and Ter Huurne (stores on the Dutch-German border). In addition, Ahold holds a 73% interest in Schuitema, a wholesale supplier of independent grocers. An institutional food supply company (GVA) and the production companies Marvelo, Meester and Nistria also are part of the Dutch operations.

The total number of outlets in The Netherlands (excluding Schuitema) increased by 24 to 1,572, including 477 franchise stores. Total sales area grew by 2.8% to 7,664,000 sq. Ft.

Key figures retail trade The Netherlands


1995 1994

Albert Heijn 8,1457,9152.9470

Albert Heijn (F)*1,6841,5657.7169

Etos 236 2188.1119

Etos (F)* 144 8568.9149

Gall & Gall 368 365 0.9330

Gall & Gall (F)* 70 4941.2 96

Others 360 406239

*(F): Franchising **(NLG) 1.6025 per USD


The "Today for Tomorrow" distribution system, where store orders are filled within eighteen hours, is now operative throughout the country. Heightened efficiency led to elimination of some positions, but an extensive retraining and outplacement effort made it possible to avoid involuntary layoffs.

Ministores and a large supermarket in Beek further expanded the range of store formats within the Albert Heijn family. In early 1996, Albert Heijn and Shell began a joint trial offering a special assortment in several Shell station shops.

Specialty Stores

By the end of 1995, Ahold Specialty Stores operated 933 outlets, including 308 franchise stores. The Gall & Gall liquor store chain increases its market share significantly from 21.6% to 23.4% in a shrinking market. The strong performance was due to improvements in marketing, assortment and store organization.

Sales of De Tuinen natural product and Etos health/beauty care stores also had an exceptional growth of improved assortment.

Ahold in Europe

Through its Jer'onimo Martins Retail (JMR) joint venture in Portugal, Ahold is co-owner of the country's leading supermarket chain, Pingo Doce, and the Feira Nova hypermarket chain. In the Czech Republic, Ahold owns the Mana supermarket chain, the Sesam discount chain, and Euronova cash & carry centers. Through a joint venture in Poland, Ahold has ten cash & carry centers, two Sesam discount stores and a share in eight supermarkets. In Belgium, Ahold owns a food production company, and in Spain it is half-owner of the Luis Paez sherry bodega.

In particular, Portuguese activities contributed significantly to this growth. In the Czech Republic, an important acquisition more than doubled the number of stores. The total number of Ahold stores outside of The Netherlands climbed by 74 to 212. Their total sales are increased 29.1% to 1,995,000 sq. Ft.

Key figures retail trade other European countries

Sales GrowthLocationsSales area

(in %)(1,000 sq. ft.)

Pngo Doce (P)10.61031,020

Feira Nova (P)39.6 8 465

Mana (Z)60.2 69 376

Other formats 32


Jero'nimo Martins Retail (JMR), Ahold's joint venture in Portugal (51% Jero'nimo Martins, 49% Ahold), achieved sales of NLG 1.7 billion. Pingo Doce has positioned itself as the country's leading food expert, and its private label line has made notable gains.


Largely located on the outskirts of major metropolitan areas, attract customers from miles around with low priced food and extensive non-food assortments.


With smaller reach, are primarily located in large cities and in smaller urban areas and successfully offer a broad food assortment in a full-service environment.

The Czech Republic

Total sales grew to NLG 222 million, a 99.0% increase in local currency. Euronova acquired 52 Ceska General Food stores. The total number of stores in the Czech Republic thereby rose to 96. The combined scope of Mana and Sesam has reached the point where new benefits in distribution and purchasing can be achieved.


Ahold and the German retailer Allkauf has begun a 50-50 joint venture developing various store formats in Poland. Additionally, the joint venture acquired a 51 % interest in Mitex Trade, an operator of six large and two small supermarkets. Most activity is currently concentrated in southern Poland, close to Ahold's activities in the Czech Republic.

European cooperation

The synergy marketing alliance linking twelve leading European food retailers including Ahold, Associated Marketing Services (AMS), achieved combined benefits through extensive programs with suppliers. One of the most important results was introduction of the Euroshopper product line.

Cooperation among the European Retail Alliance (ERA), consisting of Ahold, the British food retailer Argyll and the French food retailer Casino, was for the most part confined to information exchanges in 1995. In February 1996, the partners ended their cross shareholdings in each other.

Ahold in The Far East--Asia

Ahold begins its development in Southeast Asia by signing a cooperative agreement in Indonesia, and opening an Ahold Asia Pacific office in Singapore. In March 1996, joint venture contracts were signed in Malaysia and Singapore.

The company has announced its intention to expand its operations into the Far East, starting with Indonesia and Malaysia, together with local partners. In September 1996, the first store in Indonesia will be opened. Ahold is also looking to new markets of China and Thailand.

With existing purchases from supermarkets running at a fraction of the Western world (penetration only 2-3%, against 65-80% in Western countries), the growth possibilities of Far East area are very positive. Ahold believes it is possible that within ten years, some 10% of total sales will derive from the Far East.