Dutch retail giant Ahold today (18 November) posted a fall in third-quarter net profit despite rising turnover and higher sales volumes.

In the three-month period, the company earned EUR223m (US$303.8m), a drop on the EUR244m booked last year. The figure included EUR16m of charges related to past divestments.

However, Ahold’s operating income climbed 7.5% to EUR285m, while retail operating income increased 6.2% to EUR307m, as net sales increased 10.8% to EUR6.7bn. Ahold’s top line was boosted, for example, by the acquisition of the Ukrop chain in the US.

In the US, Ahold’s identical-store sales were up 1% in the quarter, while in the Netherlands, identical-store sales rose 4.5%.

CEO John Rishton said: “In an environment that remains challenging, we delivered another quarter of solid results. We delivered positive identical sales growth in the United States and in Europe…and we grew volumes and market share in the United States and the Netherlands. We will continue to invest to deliver value to our customers while balancing sales and margins.”

Over the first nine months of 2010, net income rose 11.3% to EUR699m, while operating income amounted to EUR1bn, an 8.9% increase on last year. Net sales climbed 6.8% to EUR22.6bn.

Click here to view the full earnings release.