Super de Boer has posted flat first-quarter sales as it focuses on “strengthening” its namesake format.

Net sales dipped slightly during the three-month period, falling to EUR367.9m (US$489.8m) from EUR368.1m in the comparable period of last year.

Super de Boer operates 11 fewer stores than it did in the first quarter of 2008, meaning that sales per store rose.

“In the first quarter sales per store grew by 2.5% to more than EUR127,000 per week…. We are pleased with this development, particularly since, contrary to last year, the Easter sales were not included in the first quarter,” CEO Jan Brouwer said.

Super de Boer said that during the fiscal year it intends to strengthen its brand through a capital expenditure of EUR20m.

During the year, the company said it would refurbish and extend 50-60 stores; increase emphasis on private label; improve price positioning; intensifying local marketing; and improve store quality through various programmes and training courses.