AHOLD SAYS INTEGRATION EFFORTS ENCOURAGING

ZAANDAM, Netherlands -- Ahold here said last week it is encouraged by ongoing efforts to integrate its retail and food-service operations in the United States.erishables at very attractive prices," while the food-service segment has been able to get better terms on dry groceries using the retail segment's expertise.Van der Hoeven also said the retail segment is assisting U.S. Foodservice "in substantial

ZAANDAM, Netherlands -- Ahold here said last week it is encouraged by ongoing efforts to integrate its retail and food-service operations in the United States.

erishables at very attractive prices," while the food-service segment has been able to get better terms on dry groceries using the retail segment's expertise.

Van der Hoeven also said the retail segment is assisting U.S. Foodservice "in substantial ways" in the area of systems and logistics.

At the store level, Ahold is using the capabilities of its food-service segment, van der Hoeven added, "by testing several modules at Giant of Landover featuring different services U.S. Foodservice can provide, including coffee bars, salad bars, some aspects of deli and an upgrading of meat offerings."

Van der Hoeven made his remarks in a conference call with analysts following the release of financial results for the 16-week first quarter ended April 22.

Sales at Ahold USA rose 60% to $10.2 billion, primarily reflecting the consolidation of U.S. Foodservice and PYA/Monarch. Retail sales increased 61.5% to $6.8 million and food-service sales jumped 57.1% to $3.4 billion.

The company said comparable store sales rose 3.3%, while organic sales -- sales excluding acquisitions and currency fluctuations -- rose 7.2% in the retail segment and 16% in the food-service segment.

Van der Hoeven said comps improved at all U.S. divisions, with Tops benefiting from the addition of 20 former Grand Union stores and Giant of Carlisle benefiting from the introduction of a loyalty card program.