Dutch supermarket group Schuitema, which is majority-owned by troubled Dutch retailer Ahold, has reported a 19% rise in first-quarter net profit.

The retailer’s net profit rose to €10.8m (US$12.4m), compared with €9.1m a year earlier, while sales rose 11.7% to €986m.

Schuitema said its share of the Dutch retail market, which is dominated by Ahold’s Albert Heijn chain, rose to 15.8%, compared to 15% in the first quarter of last year.

Ahold holds a stake of around 73% in Schuitema.

Schuitema reaffirmed its forecast for a significant increase in earnings for 2003: “Schuitema keeps its profit expectation that, barring unforeseen circumstances, in the current fiscal year profits will increase significantly versus 2002,” the company was quoted by Reuters as saying.