- In The Netherlands, Ahold said this morning that it is being challenged by a Dutch shareholder group alleging that the company's annual results between 1998 and 2002 were incorrect and need to be restated.
Ahold management disputes the charge and says it will fight the legal challenge.
However, beyond the legal dispute, this is just the latest question being raised about Ahold's credibility after a year in which it endured a billion dollar accounting scandal, the forced resignations of a number of executives, and the decision to sell off non-core businesses as a way of closing its budget gap.
- Published reports say that in the UK, William Morrison Supermarkets is looking to fast-track its plan to acquire fourth-ranked Safeway Plc for the equivalent of $4.8 billion (US), with a goal of closing the deal by the beginning of March.
- China Daily reports that Wal-Mart plans "to vastly increase its outlets" throughout China this year and over the next few years so that it can establish a strong presence before the full opening of the retail market there under World Trade Organization (WTO ) agreements.
All restrictions on foreign ownership of retailers in China are scheduled to be lifted by 2007.
Wal-Mart reportedly plans to open another 50 stores within three to five years, with a goal of 100 units.
- Published reports say that Tesco plans to invest the equivalent of more than $100 million (US) to open 16 hypermarkets in Poland this year.
Tesco currently operates around 70 hypermarkets and supermarkets in Poland.