ZAANDAM, Netherlands -- Ahold here said last week it expects to open approximately 1,250 new and remodeled stores in 2001.
Cees van der Hoeven, Ahold president and chief executive officer, said the move represents the company's dedication to organic growth as well as acquisitions.
"Our strength lies in our ability to achieve significant organic growth while acquiring and successfully integrating world-class companies into our group," van der Hoeven said in the company's annual report.
Ahold said it expects sales growth of 6% in the United States in 2001, with sales reaching $34 billion. Ahold also stated it expects to open 80 new stores and remodel 100 in 2001, creating a total U.S. store count of 1,400.
The company said it experienced organic sales growth of 6.6% worldwide, adding it is optimistic it will surpass these numbers in 2001.
"Our growth potential as a company has increased considerably, reflecting the linkage of our food retail and food-service activities. By adding food service to our business portfolio, we are able to serve our customers at every meal occasion. Sustaining and nurturing this multi-channel strategy and focusing strongly on organic growth will again lead to a surge in our worldwide sales. We intend to double the size of our company in the 1999-to-2002 period, although this now looks almost doable by the end of this year," van der Hoeven said.
The annual report also confirmed the company's commitment to socially responsible policies. "This awareness drives our desire to play our part as a citizen of the world, ensuring safe and high-quality food is on the shelves of our stores and delivered to our food service accounts," the report said.
It went on to cite Ahold's environmental policy, with its emphasis on minimizing energy use, pesticide levels and packaging materials.
William J. Grize, president and CEO of Ahold USA-Retail, Chantilly, Va., and James L. Miller, president and CEO of U.S. Foodservice, Columbia, Md., will join the board, pending approval from shareholders at at its annual stockholder meeting in The Hague, Netherlands, on May 15..