Ahold's 2Q Sales Down, but U.S. Banners See Slight Improvement

ZAANDAM, The Netherlands - Global retailer Ahold said yesterday that consolidated net sales during its second quarter slipped to EUR 12.3 billion ($14.81 billion), a decline of 4.8 percent compared to the same period last year. The Dutch-based company cited lower currency exchange rates and the impact of divestments. Ahold will report second-quarter earnings on Aug. 26, but released unaudited sales figures in advance.

Among its U.S. operations, net sales in the second quarter increased by 0.5 percent to $6.3 billion. Net sales growth excluding the impact of the divestment of Golden Gallon in 2003 was approximately 2.0 percent.

Meanwhile identical sales growth was 0.3 percent, and comparable sales growth was 0.9 percent. Identical sales in the second quarter were positively impacted by the Easter calendar effect by approximately 1.0 percent, Ahold said. In addition, food price inflation remained stable in the second quarter of 2004 compared to the first quarter of 2004.

At Stop & Shop and Giant of Landover, sales were impacted by increased competitive promotional activity and selling square footage, as well as ongoing integration initiatives between the two chains.

Earlier in the week, federal authorities announced civil and criminal charges against four Ahold executives and a former supplier stemming from the $850 million accounting scandal uncovered at U.S. Foodservice last year.
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