Dutch retail group Laurus has announced a loss of €128m ($US167.9) for 2004, compared with a €9m profit in 2003.

Net sales fell to €3.498bn in 2004, compared with €4.065bn in 2003.

‘The combined effect of the economic recession and the price war which started in
October 2003 brought the Dutch food retailing sector to a complete standstill in
2004,” said Harry Bruijniks, chairman of Laurus N.V.’s group management board.

“Following a tentative return to profit in 2003, Laurus ended 2004 with a loss,” he said. “From the point of view of longer-term recovery, however, 2004 was far from a lost year. We worked hard on the much-needed renewal of our Edah, Konmar and Super de Boer formats, opening 40 Edah Lekker & Laag stores in the second half of 2004 and the first Super de Boer Refresh store at the end of October. Week 16 of 2005 will see the opening in Hoogvliet of the first pilot store operating under our new Superstore format.”