Former Ahold Exec Plans Retail Chain

A new discount retail chain headed by a former executive of Dutch supermarket group Royal Ahold will open its first store in July and plans to expand further, the official heading the project said Friday.

Luc de Jong, who worked at Ahold for 20 years, said the new chain was being managed by several former Ahold executives as well as Sergei Vereshchagin and Oleg Trykin, the main shareholders in the Smart Value chain.

"We will open the first shop in July ... [and then] build an extensive network across all of Russia," said de Jong, who now works as general director of Smart Value. He said the chain would resemble the C1000 discount chain in the Netherlands, though it would have a different name.

De Jong said Ahold would help the venture in a technical and consultancy capacity but would not take an equity stake in Smart Value. He did not rule out, however, that the two firms might eventually unite.