Ahold has sold its Indonesian Tops operation to the region's Hero supermarkets for E12m as the Dutch-based retailer tries to reduce debt in the wake of recent financial accounting problems.
The deal involves 23 supermarkets and two distribution centres and will be added to Hero's existing portfolio of 200 stores throughout Indonesia.
Ahold said the move did not include staff at its Indonesian headquarters and that it was "committed to meeting its obligations to these associates".
Ahold Tops Indonesia had unaudited net sales of E37m in 2002 and employs 1,600 people in the region.

n sales growth
German retail and wholesale giant Metro posted a 2.7% rise in first quarter sales which it said were pegged back by the strong euro and the late Easter.
For the three months to March 31 turnover rose to E12.1bn from E11.8bn last year. Profit before tax and interest climbed from a loss of E5.9m to profit of E22.2m.
The group said the figures were encouraging considering the late Easter which had "significantly impacted results" but should give new impetus to sales in the second quarter. Sales in its home market grew 3.3% to E6.69bn while international sales climbed 1.9% to E5.45bn. Excluding the impact of negative currency effects, international sales grew 6.7%.

n US launch
US supermarket operator Kroger has launched its own brand of premium quality natural and organic products. The Naturally Preferred brand comprises 140 items including baby food, pastas, cereal, snacks, milk and soy items.

n closure plea
Bankrupt US food distributor Fleming is believed to be seeking authority to close up to 40 more stores, in addition to proposed closures of 27, if efforts to sell them as viable businesses are unsuccessful.

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