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    Ahold Reports Slightly Higher Preliminary Net Sales for 3Q

    AMSTERDAM -- Ahold said yesterday that its preliminary consolidated net sales for the 12-week 2005 third quarter ended Oct. 9 came to 10.2 billion euros (US $12.4 billion), a rise of 0.7 percent over last year. Excluding currency impact, net sales went up 0.3 percent during the quarter. The sales increase was the company's first this year, according to published reports. Full results for the company's third quarter will be issued Nov. 29.

    AMSTERDAM -- Ahold said yesterday that its preliminary consolidated net sales for the 12-week 2005 third quarter ended Oct. 9 came to 10.2 billion euros (US $12.4 billion), a rise of 0.7 percent over last year. Excluding currency impact, net sales went up 0.3 percent during the quarter. The sales increase was the company's first this year, according to published reports. Full results for the company's third quarter will be issued Nov. 29.

    Regarding Ahold's American operations, which account for about 70 percent of its sales, the company released the following information:

    --The Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover Arena's net sales rose 2.6 percent to $3.7 billion. During the quarter eight stores were converted from the Giant-Landover banner to that of Stop & Shop. Same-store sales at Stop & Shop went down 0.3 percent, and at Giant-Landover they slid 2.3 percent. At both stores, net sales per transaction went up while the number of transactions went down, over last year. Comparable-store sales at Stop & Shop remained about the same compared with last year, while they decreased 1.6 percent at Giant-Landover. According to Ahold, online grocery delivery service Peapod "continued to show strong net sales growth."

    --The Giant-Carlisle/Tops Arena experienced a net sales decline of 2.5 percent, to $1.4 billion, but, excluding the 198 convenience stores that were divested during the second quarter of 2005, net sales would have been about the same as the year-ago period, Ahold said. In keeping with the portfolio rationalization aspect of Ahold's "Road to Recovery" program, nine Tops supermarkets were shuttered and seven sold in 2005. While same-store sales at Giant-Carlisle rose 4.2 percent, mainly because of consistent net sales growth driven by successful loyalty programs and effective pricing, they dove 6.5 percent at Tops, due primarily to stiff competition, particularly in the northeast Ohio region. Similarly, comparable-store sales increased 6.2 percent at Giant-Carlisle and plunged 5.8 percent at Tops.

    --U.S. Foodservice's net sales went down 1.2 percent to $4.3 billion. Ahold attributed the decrease to its decision to exit certain businesses, as well as the deflation experienced in food costs during the quarter.

    Ahold's four U.S. retail operating companies operate more than 800 stores along East Coast.

    Preliminary results from Ahold's other operations included a 3.5 percent rise in net sales at Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn and an increase of 1.0 percent in net sales at Dutch retail and wholesale company Schuitema. By contrast, although net sales in the Central Europe Arena rose 2.4 percent, the company noted that, excluding the currency impact, net sales in that area dropped 5.1 percent. Excluding the 13 Polish hypermarkets, however, net sales, excluding currency impact, would have gone up 5.5 percent, Ahold noted.

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