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Dutch Retailer Buys Pathmark

March 10, 1999

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ Dutch food retailer Royal Ahold has bought the Pathmark supermarket chain for $1.7 billion, securing a major hold over the supermarket industry on the East Coast.

Ahold, which already owns large chains in the Southeast, New England and mid-Atlantic areas, will gain 132 stores in New Jersey and the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas with estimated 1998 sales of $3.7 billion.

``This clearly positions Ahold to be the No. 1 drug and food retailer in the eastern United States,″ said Burt Flickinger, a consultant with Reach Marketing in Westport, Conn.

Ahold operates Bi Lo Markets in the Southeast, Stop and Shop Supermarkets in New England, Tops supermarkets in western New York and Ohio, and the Giant Food Stores and Edwards Supermarket chains based in Carlisle, Pa.

Ahold, with a 10 percent share of the U.S. supermarket industry, should become one of the five largest chains in the country after several other pending mergers go through, analysts said Tuesday.

Besides its U.S. stores, Ahold operates about 3,600 supermarkets in 17 countries, including The Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Latin America. Sales in 1998 were over $30 billion.

Ahold spokesman Hans Gobes said no store closings or layoffs were planned as a result of the acquisition. The Pathmark chain employs 28,000 people.

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