Ahold's U.S. sales up slightly as global sales fall

CEO Dick Boer cites weak consumer sentiment in the Netherlands

ZAANDAM, Netherlands — Royal Ahold had sales of $9.96 billion in third quarter 2013, compared with $10.2 billion during the same period last year, the Dutch supermarket operator said Thursday.

The results announced Thursday marked a 3.1% decrease in sales, though sales increased by 0.6% when measured by percentage change in constant exchange rates. Sales of the retailing company's U.S. division were $5.9 billion, a 0.2% increase over third quarter 2012, while same-store sales increased by 0.1%, or 0.6% when excluding the effect of changing gas prices. The U.S. division includes the Stop & Shop, Giant Food of Landover, Md., and Giant Food Stores of Carlisle, Pa., supermarket chains and the online grocer Peapod.

Sales in the Netherlands increased by 1.4%, while sales elsewhere in Europe were down by 4%. Ahold CEO Dick Boer cited weak consumer sentiment in the Netherlands as a factor in the company's lackluster European sales.

"In the United States, we continue to operate in a very competitive environment with low inflation," Boer said. "With limited sales growth, we gained market share in the supermarket segment and maintained our share in the all-outlet market. We were able to maintain a solid underlying operating margin, supported by continuous cost-savings."

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