Dutch retail giant Ahold has reported lower second-quarter net sales due to lower currency exchange rates and divestments.

The company said consolidated net sales for the second quarter to 11 July amounted to €12.3bn (US$14.8bn), a decline of 4.8% compared to the same period last year. Excluding currency impact and impact of divestments, Ahold said second-quarter net sales growth was approximately 3.1%.

In the US, the company's Q2 net sales increased in US dollar terms by 0.5% to US$6.3bn. Net sales growth excluding the impact of the divestment of Golden Gallon in 2003 was approximately 2.0%. Identical sales growth was 0.3% and comparable sales growth in US dollars was 0.9%.

In Europe, net sales in the second quarter amounted to €3.1bn, unchanged from a year earlier. Net sales growth excluding currency impact amounted to 0.8%. Identical sales growth at flagship Dutch chain Albert Heijn was 1.4%. Net sales growth in Central Europe from store openings was largely offset by lower currency exchange rates, while net sales in Spain decreased as a consequence of a lower store count, declining tourism in the Canary Islands and increased competition.

Second-quarter net sales at US Foodservice increased in US dollars by 7.5% to $4.4bn. Ahold said the increase was primarily attributable to higher pricing and improved volumes.

The company's net sales in South America were €215m in the second quarter, down 64.7% from the same period last year, mainly due to the divestment of Bompreço in Brazil in the first quarter of 2004 and Santa Isabel in the second half of 2003.