For the first 90 years of its existence, Ahold was content to do business in its Netherlands birthplace, where it ran hundreds of stores named for its founder, Albert Heijn. But by the late 1970s, having created the leading chain at home but struggling to grow amid a stagnant population and a barrage of new hypermarkets created by internationally minded competitors, Ahold too looked to go global. In 1976, it built some stores near Madrid, Spain, under the Cada Dia banner. And in the ...

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