Ahold is on the hunt for targeted acquisitions again.

The retailer’s E2.6bn (£2.3bn) cash pile and very low debt levels  – net debt stands at about E1.16bn (£1.03bn) – mean it can now pursue growth in new and existing markets.

The retailer this month hired operational managers for its European and US operations, which should free up board members to spend time on expansion projects.

The move has also reignited speculation that Ahold itself may be an acquisition target, with Tesco and Delhaize named as potential suitors.