Royal Ahold (NYSE: AHO - news), the international food provider, today announced its expansion into Slovakia. Ahold plans to bring to Slovakia the same popular food stores it also operates in various other Central European countries, including Poland and the Czech Republic. In the Czech Republic, Ahold has become the market leader and is recognized by the consumer for its excellent service, variety, product quality and friendly atmosphere. Its hypermarkets, megamarkets and supermarkets, specifically designed for European consumers, offer a broad range of locally-produced traditional food items and general merchandise. The Ahold store formats are expected to do extremely well with the Slovak consumer and can build on the infrastructure and experience Ahold has gained in neighboring Czech Republic. Over five million people live in Slovakia and statistics show that less than 10% of food is purchased through the supermarket channel. This alone offers considerable growth potential for Ahold and these opportunities will be captured as of this Fall initially in the Slovak capital of Bratislava.