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Ahold’s U.S.-based Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover units helped drive overall sales growth for the Netherlands-based retailer, which saw 15 percent growth in sales for its first quarter to 8.7 billion Euros.
“In our first quarter we continued to make good progress with our strategy for profitable growth,” said CEO John Rishton. “We had strong sales and solid margins in the Netherlands and the United States, despite the challenging economic environment. Identical sales growth at Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover were the strongest in many years, helping us grow market share and margin. Giant-Carlisle gained significant market share in a highly competitive and promotional market.
Net income for the first quarter for the U.S. group was down 25 percent, however, reflecting higher taxes and a 66 million Euros net provision for lease guarantees for BI-LO and Bruno’s, said Rishton during yesterday’s earnings call.
Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover net sales for the quarter were $ 5.3 billion, up 3.6 percent from last year. Identical sales were up 3.1 percent at Stop & Shop (4.8 percent excluding gasoline) and up 3.6 percent at Giant-Landover (3.6 percent excluding gasoline), despite lower pharmacy sales. Operating income was $242 million (or 4.5 percent of net sales), up $40 million, and included a non-recurring rent charge of $15 million.
Giant-Carlisle net sales were $1.5 billion, up 3.4 percent over last year’s first quarter. Identical sales were up 1.1 percent (4.3 percent excluding gasoline). Operating income was $ 71 million (or 4.9 percent of net sales), down $ 1 million compared to the same period last year, primarily due to increased promotional activity, said Ahold.