* at constant exchange rates
Zaandam, The Netherlands – Ahold today published its interim report for the first quarter of 2014.
CEO Dick Boer said: “First quarter sales trends were similar to the previous quarter with a flat year-on-year performance, impacted by low inflation and volumes that remained under pressure in all our markets.
"In the United States, we decided to roll out a program to improve our customer proposition by investing in the quality and merchandising of our Fresh assortment, associate training and targeted price reductions in all our divisions. In the Netherlands, our market share performance stabilized versus the previous quarter and we continue to focus on improvements and additions to our assortment to further strengthen our commercial position.
"We are expanding our online position in the United States and the Netherlands, and we are pleased with the overall sales growth of over 20% on an identical basis.
"Our outlook for the next quarter reflects similar trading conditions to the first quarter as well as investments in our customer proposition and future growth."
This interim report includes forward-looking statements, which do not refer to historical facts but refer to expectations based on management's current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those included in such statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to statements as to the market trends in the Netherlands, Ahold’s improvements to customer proposition, improvements and additions to the assortment in the Netherlands, future growth, better focus on Albert Heijn and its commercial performance, efficient capital structure, share buyback, underlying operating margin in the Netherlands, cost savings, Reshaping Retail strategy, future cash flows, its acquisition of SPAR in the Czech Republic and the court approval of and size, funding and timing of the payment under the Waterbury settlement. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by the forward looking statements. Many of these risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond Ahold’s ability to control or estimate precisely, such as the effect of general economic or political conditions, fluctuations in exchange rates or interest rates, increases or changes in competition, Ahold’s ability to implement and successfully complete its plans and strategies, the benefits from and resources generated by Ahold’s plans and strategies being less than or different from those anticipated, changes in Ahold’s liquidity needs, the actions of competitors and third parties and other factors discussed in Ahold’s public filings and other disclosures. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this interim report. Ahold does not assume any obligation to update any public information or forward-looking statements in this interim report to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as may be required by applicable laws. Outside the Netherlands, Koninklijke Ahold N.V., being its registered name, presents itself under the name of “Royal Ahold” or simply “Ahold.”