Dutch retailer Royal Ahold yesterday (6 July) indicated its intention to sell 46 Tops banner supermarkets in Northeast Ohio. The location of the stores, the company said, means that they are no longer considered part of the core Tops market area, which is concentrated in New York and Pennsylvania. 

Tops Markets, part of Ahold's Giant-Carlisle/Tope Arena, currenly operates 119 stores under the Tops Markets banner and four outlets under Martin's Super Food Stores banner. The stores employ around 3,800 full- and part-time employees and are located in Greater Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown and Norwalk.

Ahold had previously indicated that it has been struggling with an uneven performance in its US operations and is currently conducting a strategic review of these businesses, which is due to be delivered in the autumn.

William Blair & Company has been retained to coordinate discussions with potential buyers, Ahold said. The company hopes to complete the transaction by the end of the year.