AMSTERDAM — Volumes were flat but inflation — along with an assist from Hurricane Irene — led to a "robust" third quarter for Ahold's U.S. stores, officials said Thursday. Sales at Ahold’s U.S. stores — Stop & Shop, Giant-Carlisle and Giant-Landover — improved by 8.5% to $5.8 billion, with identical-store sales excluding gas rising by 4.5%. The sales results were well ahead of analyst expectations of 2% ID growth. U.S. operating income was $237 million, up 18.7% from the same period a ...

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