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    Interim Ahold Q3 Earnings Report Reveals ‘Solid Results’

    In its interim report for the third quarter of 2009, Royal Ahold posted a sales increase of 4.3 percent to 6.0 billion euros (US $9.0 billion) (the rise was 2.6 percent at constant exchange rates), an operating income bump of 1.5 percent to 265 million euros (US $396 million), net income of 238 million euros (US $356 million) and volume growth in all markets.

    In its interim report for the third quarter of 2009, Royal Ahold posted a sales increase of 4.3 percent to 6.0 billion euros (US $9.0 billion) (the rise was 2.6 percent at constant exchange rates), an operating income bump of 1.5 percent to 265 million euros (US $396 million), net income of 238 million euros (US $356 million) and volume growth in all markets.

    “We have again delivered solid results in a challenging environment,” said John Rishton, CEO of the Amsterdam-based retail conglomerate. “Volumes grew in all markets, with good sales performance in the U.S., reflecting ongoing investment in value for our customers. In the Netherlands, we continued to grow market share and again delivered a strong margin reflecting effective cost management. We continue to adapt to the challenging environment, balancing sales and margins while seeking to grow market share and volumes.”

    As a way to keep providing value to its shoppers, Ahold has rolled out a three-year, 350 million-euro (US $523 million) cost-reduction initiative that will end in 2012, added Rishton. “This program will focus on all aspects of our business, including store expenses, supply chain, and overhead across the group,” he noted. “Separately, we will deliver additional sourcing cost savings over the same period.”

    Regarding Ahold’s reorganization of its business earlier this month to facilitate company expansion, Rishton said, “We will pursue opportunities to grow within existing and new markets.”

    For Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover, third-quarter net sales were $4.0 billion, an increase of 1.9 percent. Identical sales were up 0.2 percent at Stop & Shop (0.7 percent excluding gasoline) and up 2.3 percent at Giant-Landover (1.5 percent excluding gasoline). Operating income was $189 million, or 4.7 percent of net sales, a rise of $ 22 million. According to Ahold, operating income was positively affected by a $28 million release of insurance provisions, partly offset by real estate impairments of $10 million and a $9 million multi-employer pension plan withdrawal charge.

    Year-to-date, net sales went up 2.9 percent to $ 13.4 billion, identical sales rose 1.8 percent at Stop & Shop (3.1 percent excluding gas) and 3.2 percent at Giant-Landover (2.9 percent excluding gas), and operating income increased by $137 million to $631 million, or 4.7 percent of net sales.

    At Giant-Carlisle third-quarter net sales grew 0.8 percent to $ 1.1 billion, identical sales fell 1.5 percent (rose 1.0 percent excluding gas) and operating income declined by $5 million, or 4.1 percent of net sales, to $45 million from the year-ago period.

    Giant-Carlisle’s year-to-date net sales increased 1.5 percent to $3.7 billion, the chain’s identical sales dipped 0.6 percent (increased 2.6 percent excluding gas) and its operating income fell by $9 million, or 4.5 percent of net sales, to $164 million vs. last year.

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