Ahold sales for the first quarter rose by 8.5%, largely, the company said, on the back of a stronger US dollar.

Sales for the quarter totalled EUR14.1bn (US$18bn), up from EUR13bn reported for the same period of last year. However, Ahold said, over the quarter the dollar was on average 8.3% stronger than the comparable period last year. With the stronger US dollar factored out sales would only have increased by 2.1%.

More than two-thirds of Ahold’s business is located in the US, the largest retail interest being the Stop & SHOP chain. In euros, Stop & Shop sales increased by 7.5% to EUR4.14bn, but fell 0.8% in dollars. Ahold’s US Foodservice unit saw a sales increase of 13% to EUR4.81bn – a 3.8% rise in dollar terms.

In the Netherlands, Ahold’s Albert Heijn supermarket group saw sales up 4.8% to EUR2.10bn.

In the statement accompanying the sales figures, Ahold warned that despite cash increases, volumes were under pressure from difficult market conditions. ”Market conditions remained competitive and, particularly in the United States, energy costs continued to impact consumer behaviour,” the statement read.

The company is due to issue its full earnings report on 21 July.