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Ahold has released consolidated net sales of 7.5 billion euros (U.S. $10.2 billion) for the fourth quarter of 2013, a 1.1 percent decline at constant exchange rates compared with the year-ago period. At current exchange rates, net sales dropped 4.2 percent. For the full year 2013, consolidated net sales at the Amsterdam-based retail conglomerate were 32.6 billion euros (U.S. $44.2 billion), a 2 percent increase at constant exchange rates versus 2012. At current exchange rates, net sales decreased 0.2 percent.
At Ahold USA, fourth-quarter net sales fell 2.1 percent to $6 billion, which the company attributed to “a contracting food market and the sales effect of Hurricane Sandy last year.” Ahold said that it was continuing to develop its online business by opening another 31 pickup points, which brought the total to 120 in the United States.
Continuing Cost Reduction
“Market share for the year was ahead of 2012, though down slightly in the fourth quarter due to the strong comparative period last year as a result of Hurricane Sandy,” the company noted. “Supported by the ongoing progress on our cost reduction program, we expect underlying operating margin to be broadly in line with the performance during the year.”
Ahold USA’s fourth-quarter identical sales decreased 2.1 percent (2 percent excluding gasoline), while comparable-sales were down 2 percent. For the full year, net sales at Ahold’s U.S. business, which consists of the Stop & Shop New England, Stop & Shop New York Metro, Giant Landover and Giant Carlisle divisions, increased 1.1 percent from 2012 to $26.1 billion, identical sales grew 0.2 percent (0.3 percent excluding gas), and comps were up 0.3 percent.