Ahold: working hard to get back on track

By Anita Awbi

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Net sales Albert heijn Ahold

Dutch supermarket Royal Ahold has posted a 31.5 per cent rise in
first-quarter operating income to €455m (£312m), citing higher
sales and reduced financial costs as key growth drivers.

The firm's net sales were €14.1bn, an increase of 8.6 per cent compared with last year's first quarter, bringing hope to the firm that earlier this year abandoned its financial targets.

The Albert Heijn fascia saw net sales rise 4.8 per cent to €2.1bn "due to a more selective approach to promotional activity and operational efficiency actions."

Meanwhile, net sales in its Central European stores increased 37.4 per cent to €558m, assisted by the acquisition of Czech chain Julius Meinl late last year.

Operating income in Ahold's US Foodservice division was €80m from €20m for the same time last year, due to improvements in both net sales and margins, said the company.

Ahold has been working on a restructuring programme to review underperforming divisions within the company. This should be completed in the autumn.

Earlier this year, as part of the review, the world's fourth largest food retail and food service group said it will reduce its US Foodservice subsidiary workforce by around 2.4 per cent.

The 700 job cuts at its US-based headquarters and distribution centre in Columbia are thought to be part of a broader effort to fix the ailing company, after Ahold agreed to pay $1.1bn (€870m) to settle a lawsuit stemming from a 2003 profit overstatement.

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