ZAANDAM, Netherlands -- Ahold here said sales in the United States increased 5% while operating earnings rose 14.6% for the first quarter ended April 19.
rkedly higher sales," the company said. Bi-Lo, Mauldin, S.C., also had higher sales "to a slightly lesser extent," the company noted, while sales at Tops Friendly Markets, Buffalo, N.Y., were flat. Operating earnings in the United States totaled $182.4 million, compared with $159.1 million a year ago, with Bi-Lo and Stop & Shop generating "significantly higher operating results," the company said. Operating earnings were almost identical at Giant Food Stores as a result of promotional activities by Edwards Super Food Stores (part of the Giant operations) and almost identical at Tops, although Tops "showed a marked improvement compared to the second half of 1997," the company pointed out.
Ahold said overall net income rose 25.2% to $143.1 million (at an exchange rate of $1 equals $2.05 Netherland guilders), while corporate sales rose 14.6% to $7.9 billion for the quarter, with sales up 7.5% in the Netherlands; 18.1% in other European countries (Portugal, Spain, Poland and the Czech Republic), and 87.1% in South America (due mainly to the acquisition of Bompreco in Brazil last July, the company said). Sales in Asia fell 12.2% during the quarter because of local economic conditions and local currency devaluations, the company added.