Royal Ahold Q2 Up 2% on U.S. Improvements

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Royal Ahold Q2 Up 2% on U.S. Improvements

AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands - Ahold today said sales were up 2 percent for the second quarter ending July 15, 2007, thanks to "favorable" market conditions both in the U.S. where 60 percent of its sales come from, and the Netherlands.

The retail conglomerate also said price investments related to ongoing roll-out of the its Value Improvement Program, launched in last September at Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover, will continue to squeeze margins

At constant exchange rates, Ahold said its consolidated net sales for the quarter were 6.6 billion euros, or US$9 billion.

At its Stop & Shop / Giant-Landover division, the grocer saw sales edge up 1.9 percent to $3.9 billion. Identical sales increased 1.1 percent at Stop & Shop (0.6 percent excluding fuel sales) and decreased 1 percent at Giant-Landover. Comps increased 1.7 percent at the former and slipped 0.8 percent at the latter.

Giant-Carlisle faired better, with sales jumping 13.7 percent to $1 billion, due in part to the acquisition of the Clemens Markets stores in the fourth quarter of 2006. Identical sales increased 2.7 percent (2.6 percent excluding gas sales), while comps improved 4.4 percent.

In Holland, Ahold market leading chain Albert Heijn posted a 10.3 percent spike in sales to 1.8 billion euros, while identical sales increased 6.2 percent.

Ahold defines identical sales as net sales from exactly the same stores in local currency for the comparable period. Comparable sales are defined as identical sales plus net sales from replacement stores in local currency.