Ahold's US retail corporate headquarters, currently located in Chantilly, Virginia, are to be closed, with the retail and corporate functions being transferred to a new Boston-based operation which combines all the back-office functions of Ahold's Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover supermarket chains. The move will be effective as of July 2004.
Ahold USA oversees approximately 1,300 supermarkets operated through six retail companies in the United States. Ahold USA president and CEO Bill Grize said that the integration would improve decision-making and improve support services by aligning them more appropriately with the needs of the businesses.
In Europe, meanwhile, the Netherlands-based European Competence Centre (ECC), will also be closed, with services provided by the ECC moving to the Ahold corporate headquarters as of March 2004.
The ECC supports the retail and foodservice operations of Ahold's four European businesses - the Netherlands, the Nordic countries, Central Europe and Iberia. The integration of the ECC functions into Ahold corporate headquarters and the Netherlands management should lead to a more efficient infrastructure and control activities, the company claimed.
Ahold president and CEO Anders Moberg said that the moves were part of a stated commitment to integrate the many different parts of Ahold's operations "into a single company with a single focus on generating value for customers. These actions are essential steps that will enable us to simplify and streamline our organisation and ultimately improve our customer offering."
Ahold's restructuring is necessary for the company to recoup the €1 billion in profits which were wiped off its balance sheet last year following revelations of accounting fraud. The programme includes widespread disposals - in Asia, Europe and North and South America - as well as the streamlining of back-office functions.