Ahold on Thursday said U.S. sales momentum continued during the fourth quarter, particularly in the New York Metro area, where Stop & Shop benefited from competitive closures and the addition of 25 new stores as a result of the A&P wind-down.
In a trading statement, the Amsterdam-based retailer said U.S. sales totaled around $6.6 billion (U.S.) in the quarter. Identical-store sales were flat, but comps excluding gasoline increased by 1.7%. Excluding gasoline and adjusted for an additional week in the fourth quarter this year, sales increased by 4.1% at constant exchange rates vs. the same period last year.
The company said it expected underlying operating margin to increase from the third quarter, as a result of the extra week. For the year, Ahold said sales totaled $23.9 billion (U.S.), an increase of 1.4% at constant exchange rates.
Ahold said it would report full financial results for the period on March 3.
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