Ahold's fiscal Q1 net profit up 6% to €291M, as sales rose 5.9% to €9.25B; U.S. sales grew 7.4% to €5.21B, while sales in the Netherlands were up 3.9% to €3.2B

THE HAGUE, Netherlands , June 10, 2011 () – Royal Ahold NV, the operator of Dutch and U.S. supermarkets including Stop & Shop and Giant, said Tuesday its first quarter net profit rose 6 percent to €291 million ($423 million) compared with the same period last year.

The retail group’s sales rose 5.9 percent to €9.25 billion in the quarter despite what it called “challenging market conditions.”

Ahold CEO Dick Boer said the profit rise came despite margins at its stores in the Netherlands being squeezed by rising inflation, which the company did not fully pass on to shoppers.

“We will continue to manage the balance between sales and margins in a challenging environment of inflation and intense promotional activity, especially in the United States,” Boer said.

Sales in the United States rose 7.4 percent to $7.6 billion (€5.21 billion) while sales in the Netherlands were up a more modest 3.9 percent to €3.2 billion.

Ahold’s chief financial officer, Kimberly Ross, said the company expects inflation to continue and “promotional activity to remain intense.”

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