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In its interim report for the third quarter of 2015, Netherlands-based retail conglomerate Ahold revealed a group sales increase of 13 percent. Underlying operating income grew to $342.6 million, with the underlying operating margin remaining at 3.8 percent. Operating income rose to $305 million, and net income grew to $203 million.
Meanwhile, in the United States, underlying sales trends continued to improve and one banner made an advantageous acquisition.
"The group delivered a strong performance during the third quarter, and we are pleased to report an increase in sales, operating income and net income, as well as a strong free cash flow," noted CEO Dick Boer. "We made further progress against our strategic priorities, and the investments in our brands are strengthening our customer proposition across all of our markets."
Boer added that "in the United States, Peapod's performance improved, reporting double-digit sales growth. We rolled out our enhanced customer proposition in the U.S. to additional stores during the quarter and as a result, we saw an improved underlying sales performance across our divisions."
For the first three quarters of the year, underlying operating income was $1,117 million, up from $1,037 million logged in the year-ago period. Underlying operating margin was 3.7 percent, versus 3.9 percent last year, which Ahold attributed mainly to higher investments in its online businesses and the integration of SPAR in the Czech Republic. Operating income increased to $1,000 million, due to increased restructuring and related charges, higher impairments, lower gains on the sale of assets, and other costs. Net income was $641 million, up as a result of such factors as higher operating cash flows from continuing operations offset by higher capital expenditures, lower proceeds from divestment of assets, and higher interest payments of interest.