Ahold, the Dutch retailer, today (6 June) posted rising quarterly profits but saw the weak dollar hit sales.

The company booked a 7% rise in operating income to EUR336m (US$524m) for the first three months of the year.

However, Ahold, which runs US chains including Stop & Shop and Giant Food, saw net sales dip 1.3% to EUR7.5bn. At constant exchange rates, sales were up 6.8%.

CEO John Rishton said Ahold was “pleased” with the numbers. “The overall first quarter results…reflect continued good progress with our strategy for profitable growth,” he said.

In the US, Ahold continued with its strategy of lowering prices and boosting the number of products on sale in its stores, although the scheme weighed on margins. Identical-store sales rose 1.2% at Ahold’s Stop & Shop outlets but dipped 1.5% at its Giant-Landover business.

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Rishton said he expects “improvements” from Ahold’s US business later this year. “We are confident that the actions we are taking to bring value to our customers are the right ones,” he said.

In Europe, Ahold saw identical-store sales from Albert Heijn, its domestic chain, jump 11.3%.

In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, same-store sales rose 18% and the company’s local unit saw losses narrow from EUR5m last year to EUR1m.