The chief executive of Ahold Delhaize, Frans Muller, has confirmed that the retailer is not in the running to take over department store chain Hema.
"I think it's good to be very clear that we did not make a bid for Hema," Muller told a conference call following the publication of Ahold Delhaize's second-quarter results.
"We would like to grow stronger with our supermarket business, our food online, but also we'll invest further in digital technologies and sustainability," he added.
"That's why we believe as an omnichannel player we have big opportunities to deepen our footprint and to grow our numbers – in the Dutch market, that's no different."
Last month, newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad claimed that the Dutch grocery market leader was one of the firms eyeing the acquisition of Hema, which currently operates a number of 'store in store' concessions with rival grocer Jumbo.
Jumbo has also ruled itself out, with financial director Ton van Veen telling De Telegraaf, "We are very interested in the future of Hema, but certainly not as an owner."
Last month, Mirage Retail Group, which operates the Blokker chain, also confirmed that it will not be tabling a bid for the department store business.
Venture capitalist firms Parcom and Flacks Group are thought to still be in the running, however, as well as a publicly-funded initiative, WeLoveHema-HouDeHema.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.