Ahold raised sales, despite economic weakness in the US and Holland

Ahold raised sales, despite economic weakness in the US and Holland

Dutch retail giant Ahold has reported a rise in annual sales thanks to growth in the US and in the Netherlands.

The company announced consolidated net sales of EUR30.3bn (US$39.07bn), an increase of 2.5% compared to 2010. At constant exchange rates, sales were up 5.5%.

The year ended with increased sales in the last three months of 2011. Net sales for the fourth quarter rose 4.5% to EUR7.3bn. When excluding the effect of currency fluctuation, sales increased 4.3%.

"We are pleased to have delivered another solid performance over the quarter, growing sales and market share in the United States and the Netherlands," Ahold said. "We continue to be well positioned in challenging market conditions with customers remaining cautious in their spending."

Ahold's US division saw full-year net sales rise of 6.6% of US$25.1bn. Identical-store sales increased 4.9%, or by 2.9% excluding fuel. Comparable-store sales were up 5.1%.

In the Netherlands, Ahold's net sales rose 4.2% to EUR10.5bn in 2011. Identical-store sales increased 2.8%

In the Czech Republic and Slovakia saw net sales rose 4.8% to EUR1.7bn and identical sales increased 2.2% or by 1.8% excluding fuel. For the quarter, net sales decreased 3.5% to EUR413mand identical sales decreased 1.5% (2.1% excluding gasoline).

Simon Chinn, lead consultant at Conlumino, called the results "solid" considering the economy in its core European and US markets.

"It has implemented some innovative new store formats and responded well to the prices sensitivities of consumers and as a result continued to achieve solid sales growth," he added.

However, shares in the retailer had dropped 1.07% to EUR10.16 as of 3.28pm CET.