ZAANDAM, Netherlands -- Ahold here said sales fell while earnings rose for the second quarter and first half ended July 16.
Net income increased 8.9% for the 12-week quarter to 102.5 million Netherlands guilders ($66.1 million at the exchange rate of 1.55 Netherlands guilders per $1 U.S.). Income rose 8.6% for the half to $143.3 million.
Sales fell 1.8% in the quarter to $4.35 billion and 0.9% for the half to $9.87 billion.
U.S. sales rose 6% in the quarter to $1.9 billion and 10.3% for the half to $4.3 billion, while operating earnings rose 12.6% in the quarter to $50.8 million and 12.1% for the half to $107.2 million.
The company said it achieved "considerably higher sales" at Giant Food Stores, Carlisle, Pa., and Edwards Super Food Stores, Windsor Locks, Conn., while sales at Tops Markets, Buffalo, N.Y., also showed sales growth. However, sales growth was limited at Bi-Lo, Mauldin, S.C., and Finast, Maple Heights, Ohio.
Ahold also said operating earnings rose at Giant, Finast and Edwards, while Bi-Lo and Tops had slight decreases.
According to Gary Giblen, managing director of Smith Barney, New York, Giant remained "consistently strong" during the quarter, with same-store sales up 4.6%.
Same-store sales at Edwards rose 4%, "demonstrating its ability to compete very well against [Boston-based] Stop & Shop, whose comps were down 0.5%," Giblen said.
Tops showed negative comps of 0.2% for the quarter, Giblen said -- an improvement over the drop of 2.9% reported in the prior quarter. Same-store sales at Finast rose 3.2% due to consolidations within the Cleveland market, Giblen said.
At Bi-Lo, same-store sales fell 1.2% during the quarter, he said, due to the conversion of Red Food units to Bi-Lo and also to increased supercenter openings.
Ahold said sales of Mayfair Super Markets, Elizabeth, N.J., which it acquired July 28, will be reflected in third-quarter results.