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ICA, the Swedish food retailer that is 50 percent owned by Ahold, has announced that it will embark on a cost-cutting program this year, and may even sell its ICA Banken financial operations.

The company said that it already has implemented a hiring freeze, and plans to consolidate operations where possible.
KC's View:
This seems very much in line with Ahold's general policy toward consolidation, centralization and cost-control…which makes sense for a company with more than $12 billion (US) in debt.

The key in all of Ahold's operations is to watch prices and margins. Because a common mistake among retailers with an untenable debt load is to increase prices and margins…which can create new problems in a highly competitive marketplace, because they don't do anything new to create compelling reasons to shop their stores.