THE PROMOTIONAL-ALLOWANCE 'DRUG' BEHIND AHOLD'S TUMBLE

About a year and a half has elapsed since the day in February 2003 when the industry was stunned by revelations from Ahold that bogus accounting at its U.S. Foodservice unit had caused earnings overstatements amounting to $500 million.That was just the beginning of it. In ensuing months, an internal investigation, eventually involving Ahold units in addition to USF, showed overstatements to be more

About a year and a half has elapsed since the day in February 2003 when the industry was stunned by revelations from Ahold that bogus accounting at its U.S. Foodservice unit had caused earnings overstatements amounting to $500 million.

That was just the beginning of it. In ensuing months, an internal investigation, eventually involving Ahold units in addition to USF, showed overstatements to be more than $1 billion over time.

It was known immediately that USF's troubles had to

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