Ahold, the Dutch food retail and food service company, saw third quarter net earnings for 2001 rise by 28 per cent to Euro 333.1 million, the company reports this week. Sales in the quarter rose 12.6 per cent to Euro 15.5 billion and operating earnings increased by 21.7 per cent to Euro 667.2 million. Net earnings after goodwill amortisation amounted to Euro 304.2 million. Earnings per common share for the quarter rose 14.6 per cent to Euro 0.38 (2000: Euro 0.33). Excluding currency fluctuations, specifically the effect of the slightly lower average exchange rate of the U.S. dollar, the Swedish Krona and the Brazilian Real, earnings per common share grew 16.1 per cent. Cees van der Hoeven, Ahold President and CEO commented, "Our company proved its capability to also perform well in somewhat weakened economic conditions. Particularly in the United States retail and foodservice achieved very good results. In Europe results were also solid."