Royal Ahold (NYSE:AHO – news), the leading international food provider, today announced that six new retailers have joined the WorldWide Retail Exchange (WWRE), of which Ahold is a founding member.

The six new retailers are Dairy Farm International (Hong Kong), Dansk Supermarked (Denmark), El Corte Ingles (Spain), Rite Aid Corporation (USA), Safeway plc (UK) and Supervalu (USA). They boost the number of members of this business-to-business (B2B) Web-based exchange to 25.

In addition to the six new retailers, WWRE membership includes, in alphabetical order: Ahold (the Netherlands): Albertson’s (USA), Auchan (France), Best Buy (USA), Casino (France), Cora (France), CVS (USA), Delhaize (Belgium), The Gap (USA), J.C. Penney (USA), Jusco (Japan), Kesko (Finland), Kingfisher (UK), Kmart (USA), Marks & Spencer (UK), Safeway Inc. (USA), Target (USA), Tesco (UK) and Walgreens (USA).

“We’re very pleased to have players of this caliber all actively involved in the WorldWide Retail Exchange,” said Gerard van Breen, senior vice president global sourcing at Ahold, one of the retailers that took the initiative to form the WWRE last March. “Through the Exchange, that will be operational in August, we see great opportunities for Ahold’s global and regional sourcing activities, lowering our costs considerably. We are convinced the Exchange will become the preferred place for retailers and suppliers to conduct transactions. We believe it will swiftly become the standard for all B2B e-commerce transactions.”

The WWRE ( is designed to facilitate and simplify trading between retailers and more than 100,000 suppliers, partners and distributors. Consisting of leading retailers from Asia, Europe and the United States, the WWRE is open to all suppliers and retailers who wish to use it to procure merchandise, supplies, equipment, and other business-related goods and services from participating suppliers. The 25 retail companies will be able to conduct a full range of food, general merchandise, apparel and drugstore e-commerce transactions with individual vendors, independent of one another. The exchange’s current membership operates approximately 50,000 stores with combined aggregate sales of approximately Euro 540 billion.

The WorldWide Retail Exchange also announced that it has selected the E-Business Alliance of IBM, i2 and Ariba as its technology partners and providers.

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Royal Ahold is a rapidly growing international food provider with leading supermarket operations in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. The company operates more than 7,000 supermarkets, hypermarkets and specialty stores with annualized sales approaching USD 50 billion. The company services more than 30 million weekly customers and employs 350,000 associates. In the United States Ahold is the leading supermarket operator along the eastern seaboard with more than 1,000 stores (including Stop & Shop, Giant, Tops, and BI-LO), a nationwide food service operation (U.S. Foodservice) and prominent e-commerce activities. Annualized US sales approach USD 30 billion.

In addition to its listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:AHO – news), Ahold’s shares are trading on the Amsterdam Exchanges and on the Swiss Exchange, and Ahold options are also traded on the American Stock Exchange (AMEX). Additional information is available on Ahold’s Web site:

Royal Ahold press releases may contain “forward-looking statements.” Actual results may differ from such statements as they may have been influenced by factors beyond the company’s ability to control.