Royal Ahold, the international food provider, today announced that two of its U.S. operating companies have combined strengths in support areas to further improve their competitive position in their respective markets. The two companies are Tops Markets, headquartered in Williamsville in the northwest of New York State, with sales of approximately USD 3 billion; and Pennsylvania-based Giant-Carlisle with sales of approximately USD 2 billion following the ongoing transfer of the 76 stores of the Edwards division to sister company
Stop & Shop.

The new partnership, called a Shared Services Structure, has been designed to allow both companies to continue to operate individually as separate and distinct businesses. At the same time, they will join forces in support areas such as IT, real estate, private label development, human resources and advertising & promotion to increase efficiency and generate substantial cost savings. The two companies already have much in common, such as similar IT platforms, and are located relatively close to one another.

Capitalizing on combined talent
The initiative is fully in line with the overall strategy of Ahold in the United States to share support functions, maximize synergies and operate more efficiently by capitalizing on the combined talents, experience and knowledge of its respective management teams. At the same time, the partnership drives costs out of the business and steps up customer service by maintaining the local marketing focus, as both Tops and Giant will continue to operate under their own name.

The shared service structure combines support functions and eliminates duplicate positions. Over the next few months, Tops will eliminate approximately 225 jobs at its headquarters. The company plans to assist associates impacted in finding new positions within the organization as the number of stores is expected to rise and customer service is correspondingly expanded over the next few months.

Ahold: broadening its prominent position along U.S. eastern seaboard
Ahold operates five prominent retail operating companies along the U.S. eastern seaboard with combined sales of more than USD 20 billion. In addition, Ahold is building a solid presence in the foodservice sector, specialized in distribution to the rapidly growing market for eating out of home. Following the finalization of an acquisition announced last summer, Ahold will generate sales from its U.S. foodservice activities approaching USD 12 billion next year, boosting sales from its U.S. operations to over USD 32 billion through its multi-channel activities of food retail, foodservice and e-commerce. Ahold also has a majority stake in Peapod, the leading U.S. internet grocer. Worldwide, Ahold generates sales of more than USD 60 billion through its multi-channel operations in 24 countries.