Netherlands-based Royal Ahold, the world's third-largest supermarket operator, said its Tops Markets LLC subsidiary intends to divest its remaining 204 convenience stores in the United States. These stores include 127 Wilson Farms Neighborhood Food Stores, 67 Sugarcreek Stores, and 10 Tops Xpress shops.
Ahold's target of 2.5 billion euros (US $3.11 billion) from divestments by year-end 2005 should help reduce debts, most recently reported as 10.87 billion euros. The Dutch firm expects to generate one billion to 1.1 billion euros, primarily from operations set aside for divestment thus far.
Ahold said Chicago IL-based investment banking firm William Blair & Co LLC will aid in divestment of the convenience stores, which have about 2,100 employees. No time frame for completion of the sale has been established.