| Highlights |
· Fourth quarter sales 7.3 billion (up 4.3 percent at constant exchange rates)
· Fourth quarter operating income 328 million (up 11.2 percent)
· Fourth quarter underlying retail operating margin 5.0 percent
· Full year net income 1.0 billion (up 19.2 percent)
· Dividend increased by 38 percent to 0.40 per share
Amsterdam, the Netherlands, March 1, 2012 - Ahold today published its summary report for the fourth quarter and full year 2011. CEO Dick Boer said: "We are pleased with our performance in the fourth quarter, delivering solid results in the United States and the Netherlands. 2011 was a successful year for Ahold where we grew sales by 5.5 percent at constant exchange rates and net income by 19 percent under challenging economic circumstances.
"We launched our new strategy to reshape retail at Ahold, taking advantage of rapid changes in consumer behavior, shopping trends and the retail landscape. We achieved our cost reduction targets a year ahead of time and announced a new 350 million euro cost savings program for the next three years.
"Reflecting the confidence in our new strategy and our proven ability to generate cash, we propose a 38 percent increase in our dividend to 0.40 per share.
"We expect 2012 to be another challenging year for the food retail industry, the macro-economic environment means that consumers still continue to look for value and competition will remain intense. Our strong brands are well positioned to make progress in our major markets, however, we anticipate sales growth in the first quarter will reflect the difficult economic conditions, as well as the timing of Easter.
"During 2012, we will take further steps to make our capital structure more efficient by investing in growth, reducing debt and returning cash to shareholders while remaining committed to an investment grade credit rating."
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Ahold Q4 and FY 2011 summary report:
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