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Supermarket operator Ahold says earnings fell 3.1 percent in first quarter; blames Easter
AMSTERDAM (AP) ' Royal Ahold NV, the Dutch owner of U.S. supermarket chains Stop & Shop and Giant, says first quarter sales rose but earnings declined in the first quarter, mostly due to the timing of the Easter holiday.
Net profit was '282 million ($352 million), down from '291 million in the same period a year earlier, the company said Wednesday in a statement. Sales rose 5.0 percent to '9.7 billion. Last year the strong week of Easter fell in the first quarter, while the relatively weak week afterward came in the second quarter. Ahold, which does around two-thirds of its business in the U.S., said sales there were up 2.8 percent to $7.8 billion on a mix of newly acquired stores and higher gasoline prices. Margins declined.