Belgian retail group Delhaize has reported a first-quarter net loss, as sales decreased in value due to the weak US dollar.

The company, which does most of its business in the US, posted a net loss of €8.0m (US$9.7m) for the first quarter of 2004, compared to a net profit of €46.3m in the first quarter of 2003.

First-quarter sales fell 6.0% to €4.4bn due to a 14.1% weaker US dollar, the company said. At identical exchange rates, sales would have increased by 5.1%. Organic sales growth, excluding currency movements, acquisitions and divestitures, was 3.8%, supported by good sales momentum in the US and Belgium. Comparable store sales growth was 2.5% in the US and 3.1% in Belgium.