Investor jitters over Ahold market share pressure

Investor jitters over Ahold market share pressure

Shares in Ahold fell more than 5% in morning trade today (14 November) as the firm's third-quarter results raised concerns over the Dutch retailer's domestic market share.

"Sales at Albert Heijn supermarkets in the Netherlands were lower as our customers bought fewer items per visit, placing our market share under pressure," Ahold warned in its trading update.

Total sales in the Netherlands increased 1.4% in the three months, as space expansion and contributions from online businesses bol.com and albert.nl offset declining like-for-like trends. Comparable sales dropped 0.2%, the company revealed.

In the US, the company said net sales rose 0.2% on stable sales volumes and identical sales growth of 0.1%.

Group sales increased to EUR7.4bn (US$9.96bn), up 0.6% at constant exchange rates. However, including currency exchange fluctuations, sales were down 3%.

Operating income totalled EUR248m, down EUR40m year-on-year due to restructuring costs. However, net income rose EUR24m to EUR165m. Comparability was impacted by a one-off charge of EUR45m registered in the third-quarter of 2012.

Ahold also announced an additional capital repayment of EUR1bn to shareholders and a reverse stock split in first quarter 2014.

Nevertheless, Ahold shares were down 5.57% at 14.42 GMT, dropping to EUR12.66.

Click here to view the full earnings update from Ahold.