Royal Ahold NV said today (1 February) that its fourth quarter sales fell 3.7% year-on-year, primarily due to the impact of a weaker US dollar.

The food retailer, which operates Stop&Shop, Tops, Giant Landover and Giant Carlisle in the US, reported net sales of EUR10.4bn (US$13.5bn), down from EUR10.8bn in the fourth quarter of last year. However, Amsterdam-based Ahold noted that sales would have been up 3% on constant exchange rates.

Sales in the US were down 7.9% at Stop&Shop and Giant Landover, dropping to EUR2.98bn, and declined 11% to EUR1.07bn at Tops and Giant Carlisle stores. However, at a constant exchange rate, Stop&Shop and Giant Landover sales were up fractionally, while Topps and Giant Carlisle were down 2.7%.

US Foodservice sales fell 3.3% to EUR3.44bn, but rose 5.1% in dollar terms.

In its home market of the Netherlands Ahold's performance was markedly better, with sales at its flagship Albert Heijn stores increasing 11% to EUR1.77bn.

Ahold is due to publish its full earnings on 22 March.