Dutch supermarket chain, Royal Ahold, announced on Tuesday a surge in net earnings of 48 per cent to Euro 1.1 billion. Operating results increased by 61 per cent to Euro 2.3 billion compared to Euro 1.4 billion in 1999. Consolidated sales in 2000 rose 56 per cent to Euro 52.5 billion from 33.6 billion in 1999. Commenting on the results, Ahold President & CEO Cees van der Hoeven said, "We planned to double the size of our company between 1999 and 2002, but it now looks as if we will almost reach that goal by the end of 2001, with sales expected to be about Euro 65 billion." Ahold is the world's sixth largest supermarket operator, with about 8,500 supermarkets, hypermarkets and other store formats in the US, Europe, Latin America.