ACQUISITIONS SPUR JUMP IN U.S. SALES FOR AHOLD

ZAANDAM, Netherlands -- Ahold here said last week acquisitions and strong sales growth at four of its retail chains helped boost U.S. sales for the third quarter and 40 weeks ended Oct. 7.ose stores as part of a deal to acquire 185 Grand Union locations.The company said it expects the acquired stores to generate approximately $800 million in additional sales.Ahold also said it expects to finalize

ZAANDAM, Netherlands -- Ahold here said last week acquisitions and strong sales growth at four of its retail chains helped boost U.S. sales for the third quarter and 40 weeks ended Oct. 7.

ose stores as part of a deal to acquire 185 Grand Union locations.

The company said it expects the acquired stores to generate approximately $800 million in additional sales.

Ahold also said it expects to finalize its acquisition later this month of PYA/Monarch, a food service company with sales of approximately $3.5 billion in the Southeast. With completion of the transaction, Ahold said annual food service sales will be approximately $12 billion.

Sales in the United States rose 52.6% to $7 billion for the 12-week third quarter and 30.9% to $20.2 billion for the 40 weeks, with the increase reflecting the acquisition of U.S. Foodservice, Columbia, Md., in March and, to a lesser degree, the acquisitions last spring of two convenience-store chains - Golden Gallon, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Sugar Creek in upstate New York. In addition, strong identical store sales at Stop & Shop, Quincy, Mass.; Giant Foods, Landover, Md.; Giant Foods, Carlisle, Pa.; and Bi-Lo, Mauldin, S.C., also contributed to sales growth, the company said.

The company said operating income for the United States increased 37.3% to $314.3 million for the quarter and 33.6% to $981 million for the 40 weeks, largely reflecting the consolidation of U.S. Foodservice.

Third-quarter results included a $10 million operating loss, as anticipated, for Peapod, the Internet grocer that Ahold acquired last April, whose results were consolidated for the first time during the quarter.

Corporate sales for Ahold rose 76.5% to $12 billion for the quarter and 48.8% for the year to date to $32.3 billion, with identical store sales up 6.8% for the quarter, while net income was up 55.5% to $225.5 million for the quarter and 44.9% to $142.6 million for the 40 weeks.