Ahold sells Polish stores

Related tags Ahold Hypermarket

Ahold has sold two underperforming Polish hypermarkets to French
rival Carrefour for an undisclosed sum as part of its drive to
focus on profitable businesses. But the company has shown no signs
of withdrawing from that market altogether.

Dutch retailer Ahold​ last week sold two of its Polish hypermarkets to Carrefour - the latest move by the struggling group to refocus on growth markets and reduce its €1 billion losses.

Earlier this month, Ahold announced that it would continue to sell off any of its businesses which did have a strong local market position, in particular its Spanish unit which is a relatively small player compared to the likes of Auchan and Carrefour.

But Ahold's eastern European and Asian businesses were not expected to be high up this list - despite the fact that they are considered more likely to attract high-profile bidders - because of the simple fact that the company has continued to perform well there despite its troubles elsewhere.

But this will not, it seems, stop the company from selling off piecemeal those assets which continue to underperform. Ahold has 14 Hypernova hypermarkets in Poland, as well as 160 Albert supermarkets, and the sale of two stores to Carrefour is clearly not the start of a withdrawal from that market.

The hypermarkets in Sosnowiec and Bydgoszcz were simply two outlets which failed to meet Ahold's performance criteria and which were therefore offloaded to allow the company to concentrate on its other stores there.

Ahold did not say how much Carrefour had paid for the stores. The French group now has 15 hypermarkets and 64 supermarkets in Poland.

Ahold is still one of the biggest store operators in Poland, ahead of Carrefour, fellow French groups Casino (which has 122 outlets) and Auchan (around 30 stores) and the UK's Tesco (which has 66 stores there). Any of these groups would, of course, be prime candidates to acquire any other Ahold assets there, but the likelihood of the entire Ahold Polska business being divested remains slim.

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