Ahold has axed plans to sell its Dutch sweet shop chain Jamin and decided to sell the stores to independent retailers under a franchise scheme instead. Over half of the stores are already owned by franchisees and Ahold expects the whole group to operate in this way by the end of next year. Jamin was put on the market earlier this year as Ahold felt it would have "better prospects" under different ownership. However, talks with a potential purchaser broke down in June and Ahold has been struggling to find a suitable buyer since. Jamin has 142 stores but annual sales of just 45m euros. A spokesman conceded: "It's not something you can win the war with unless you have sufficient scale in confectionery to go forward." Although the chain is only operating at about breakeven, a "significant number" of potential franchisees have approached Ahold wishing to sign up, he added. But Ahold still believes the chain would benefit from being part of a larger player in the confectionery market. l Ahold has identified about 50 sites in the Netherlands suitable for its 40,000 sq ft megasupermarkets' or Grand Albert Heijn stores. The first of the new format stores, with a wide range of non food, will open early next year. {{NEWS }}