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    Ahold Q1 Sales Dip

    AMSTERDAM - Royal Ahold here said earlier this morning that first quarter sales dropped slightly, 0.7 percent to 13.2 billion euros (US$17.9 billion).

    AMSTERDAM - Royal Ahold here said earlier this morning that first quarter sales dropped slightly, 0.7 percent to 13.2 billion euros (US$17.9 billion).

    The retail comglomerate said that at constant exchange rates, its sales gained 5.8 percent in the quarter. The company also cautioned that ongoing revamping of its U.S. operations would continue to be a drag on overall operating margins.

    In the U.S., Ahold's Stop & ShopGiant-Landover division saw a 1.8 sales increase to $5.1 billion in the quarter. Identical store sales inched up 0.3 percent for Stop & Shop (and slipped 0.1 percent exclusing fuel sales), while ID sales were down 1.1 percent at Giant Landover.

    Thanks in part to the Clemens Markets acquisition, Giant Carlisle sales were up 16 percent in the period, to $1.3 billion. Comps were up 6.3 percent, while identical store sales climbed 4.4 percent (3.9 percent excluding fuel).

    "Price investments related to the further roll-out of the Value Improvement Programme, launched in September 2006 at Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover, will continue to impact margins," Ahold said in a statement.

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