Dutch grocer Laurus expects to end the first half of 2004 with a net loss of €15m (US$18.55m).

This compares unfavourably with the net profit of €7m posted in the first half of 2003. The downturn is attributed to decreased value sales and lower margins as a result of the intense price competition between Dutch food retailers.

Laurus announced late July that it had generated a net turnover of €1.746bn in the first half of 2004 compared to €1.974bn in the year-ago period.

Final results will be released 1 September.