Dutch retail giant Ahold has reported fourth-quarter net sales of €12.3bn (US$16.3bn), a decline of 3.1% from the fourth quarter of 2003.
The company said net sales were impacted by lower currency exchange rates and divestments; consolidated fourth quarter net sales growth excluding currency impact and the impact of divestments was 7.9%. The fourth quarter of 2004 contained 13 weeks, compared to the 12-week fourth quarter of 2003.
Consolidated net sales in 2004 amounted to €52.0bn, a decline of 7.3% compared to €56.1m in 2003. Net sales excluding currency impact declined by 0.7% in 2004. Net sales growth excluding currency impact and the impact of divestments was 3.1% in 2004.
Net sales at Ahold’s US retail operations in US dollars in the fourth quarter of 2004 increased by 10.2% to US$6.9bn. Identical sales in US dollars declined by 1.2% and comparable sales decreased by 0.7%, after adjusting for the extra week.
In Europe, Ahold’s net sales in the fourth quarter of 2004 amounted to €3.3bn, compared to €3.2bn a year earlier. Net sales growth excluding currency impact was 1.2%. Ahold said fourth-quarter net sales were negatively impacted by the sale of its Spanish retail activities. Net sales growth for Europe retail excluding currency impact and the impact from divestments was 7.7%.
In the fourth quarter of 2004 US Foodservice’s net sales in US dollars increased by 7.8% to $4.5bn. After adjusting for the extra week, net sales increased 0.6%.
Ahold’s net sales in South America were €122m in the fourth quarter, compared to €519m a year earlier, mainly due to the divestment of Bompreço in Brazil in the first quarter of 2004, Santa Isabel in Chile, Paraguay and Peru in the second half of 2003 and the deconsolidation of Disco as of 1 November 2004.