Dutch retailer Ahold has reported sales and operating income little changed in the first quarter of 2005, but net income was sharply down because of a one time gain in the first quarter last year.

Operating income was €346m (US$420m), compared with €349m in the year earlier quarter. Sales were little changed at  €13.0bn in the first quarter of 2005 from €13.1bn the previous year.

Net income fell to €134m in the first quarter of 2005 from €298m a year ago.

The sharp fall in net income was due to a gain in the first quarter of 2004 on the valuation of the company's stake in the Scandinavian joint venture ICA.

"I am happy with where we are at this point in time," said Anders Moberg, president and CEO. "As we successfully move forward along our road to recovery, we are once again in a position to invest to meet customer needs and create profitable growth."