Dutch retail giant Ahold has reaffirmed its commitment to the US market after its strategy to revitalise stores there drove a rise in underlying first-half revenue.

Ahold saw the weak dollar weigh on revenue during the first quarter of the year. Net sales dipped 0.7% to EUR13.2bn (US$17.8bn) during the three months to the end of March.

Stripping out the effects of currency, however, revenue was up 5.8%, and Ahold told just-food that it has begun to see the fruits of its US programme.

Ahold has looked to focus on giving US shoppers at its Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover stores "good value", a spokesman said. Net sales from the businesses inched up 1.8% to EUR5.1bn.

"In current market conditions, consumers are looking for value for money," the spokesman said. "Our value repositioning in the US is comparable to what we did earlier with Albert Heijn in the Netherlands." Four years ago, Ahold decided to reduce prices and increase the number of products it sells to boost sales at Albert Heijn.

Major shareholders in Ahold, Centaurus Capital and Paulson & Co., have argued that the group should exit from the US entirely and focus on European retailing.

However, the spokesman said Ahold wants to focus on food retailing in the US after last week deciding to sell its US Foodservice business.