ZAANDAM, Netherlands -- Ahold here said last week its U.S. headquarters, currently located in Atlanta, will move to the Washington area at the end of this summer.
> "The move from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., is a logical step," said Robert Tobin, president and chief executive officer of Ahold USA. "We will be located closer to where most of our business is generated."
Ahold said its five U.S. operating companies accounted for total sales of $19.9 billion in 1998, broken out as follows: Stop & Shop Cos., Quincy, Mass., $6.2 billion (31% of the U.S. total); Giant Food, Landover, Md., $4.4 billion (22%); Giant Food Stores, Carlisle, Pa., $3.4 billion (17%); Tops Friendly Markets, Buffalo, N.Y., $3 billion (15%); and Bi-Lo, Mauldin, S.C., $2.9 billion (15%).
The company said it expects to complete its acquisition of Pathmark Stores, Carteret, N.J., by the end of the year. The addition of Pathmark's $3.7 billion would boost Ahold's U.S. volume to an estimated $23.6 billion, with Pathmark accounting for approximately 16% of the new total.
In a separate development, Ahold said worldwide sales and earnings increased for the first quarter ended April 25, with Stop & Shop one of its top performing contributors.
Net income for the 16-week quarter rose 31.6% to $183.5 million (U.S., at a rate of $1 equals 1.0478 Euro dollars), while sales, as previously reported, were up 27.2% to $9.7 billion.
In the United States, Ahold said a sales rise of 36.7% to $6.1 billion largely reflected the consolidation of Giant of Landover into the total; without Giant, which was acquired last October, U.S. sales would have increased 6.3%, the company said.
Ahold said all U.S. operations contributed to the sales increase, particularly Stop & Shop. "Substantial identical sales growth was an important factor [in the overall increase]," the company added.
Ahold did not release same-store sales results. However, Debra Levin, a securities analyst with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, New York, said comparable-store sales in the United States rose 3.5% for the quarter, with all divisions posting positive results.
Operating income in the United States rose 46.2% to $266.7 million; excluding the consolidation of Giant, operating results were up 14.7%