Ahold's US arm is forging ahead in c-store development with the purchase of Sugar Creek forecourt stores. Tops Markets ­ one of Ahold's US supermarket chains ­ has bought 87 stores and is planning to convert them to its Wilson Farm neighbourhood store fascia. Tops runs 124 supermarkets and 117 Wilson's stores, with 1999 sales of $2.7bn. The purchase follows Ahold's $3.6bn buyout of US Foodservice, the country's second largest foodservice distributor. Currently the forecourt stores sell limited food products, but Ahold says they will be restocked with a full range of products. Tops president and ceo Steve Odland said the stores gave an ideal platform to boost Ahold's c-store presence. * Royal Ahold "still hopes" to make a European acquisition shortly, according to chief executive Cees van der Hoeven this week. He said he wants the company to expand in Europe to balance its worldwide activites. {{NEWS }}