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    Ahold Posts 'Solid' Fourth Quarter

    Results were bolstered by brisk holiday sales at the company's U.S. and Dutch banners.

    Ahold last week released consolidated net sales of 6.6 billion euros for the fourth quarter ending Dec. 28, 2008, a 12.9 percent increase compared with the year-ago period. For the full year, net sales came to 25.7 billion euros, 3.3 percent higher than those of the year before. The Amsterdam-based retail conglomerate characterized sales performance for the quarter in all of its major markets as "solid," with strong holiday sales in both its U.S. and Dutch stores.

    At U.S. division Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover, fourth-quarter net sales grew 2.8 percent to $4.0 billion. The net sales included $15 million of sales to Tops. Before its disposal, such sales were counted as intercompany sales. Identical sales rose 2.3 percent at Stop & Shop (4.0 percent excluding gasoline net sales) and 1.1 percent at Giant-Landover (1.0 percent excluding gasoline net sales), affected by lower pharmacy sales. Comps increased 2.7 percent at Stop & Shop and 1.4 percent at Giant-Landover.

    Full-year net sales at the chains went up 2.4 percent to $17.1 billion, including $114 million of sales to Tops, which, prior to its disposal, were recorded as intercompany sales. Identical sales rose 2.4 percent at Stop & Shop (2.1 percent excluding gasoline net sales) and dipped 0.4 percent at Giant-Landover (0.5 percent excluding gasoline net sales), because of lower pharmacy sales. Comps grew 2.8 percent at Stop & Shop and declined 0.2 percent at Giant-Landover.

    At another U.S. division, Giant-Carlisle, fourth-quarter net sales increased 7.9 percent to $1.1 billion, identical sales rose 4.6 percent (5.7 percent excluding gasoline net sales), and comps went up 5.4 percent. For the full year, net sales shot up 10 percent to $4.7 billion, identical sales rose 6.3 percent (4.7 percent excluding gasoline net sales), and comps went up 7.1 percent.

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