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Storm Boosts Ahold’s Q4 Sales

AMSTERDAM — Ahold here said last week that sales growth of 4.3% in the fourth quarter was partly attributable to strong sales at stores during Hurricane Sandy.

“Our strong performance was partly driven by the exceptional efforts of our teams during Hurricane Sandy, which enabled our stores to remain open and to serve our customers during these difficult times,” the company said in a statement reporting its year-end sales. The gains from storm-related sales were partially offset by a “negative calendar impact” due to the timing of the fiscal year-end.

Ahold operates the Stop & Shop, Giant-Landover and Giant Carlisle chains in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic and the Peapod online grocery service.

Read more: Ahold Reacts, Adjusts to an Evolving Competitive Climate

Ahold said U.S. identical-store sales, excluding gas, were up 1.4% in the fourth quarter, compared with the year-ago period. Gasoline sales added another 1% to IDs. Comparable-store sales rose 2.8%. Total sales for the quarter were $6.1 billion.

Ahold said it gained market share in all divisions, and noted that the 15 Genuardi’s stores its acquired in the Philadelphia area from Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway “performed in line with expectations” in the quarter.

The company also said it opened another four pick-up points for delivery of online grocery orders during the quarter, bringing its total to eight.

For the full year, Ahold said U.S. sales were up 3.1%, to $25.8 billion. IDs for the full year rose 0.5% excluding gas, and 1.4% with gas sales included. Comps rose 1.9% for the year.

Total sales for the company, including volume in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, were up 7.5% in the quarter, to $10.4 billion. For the full year sales were up 8.5% to $44 billion.

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