Margin squeeze, particularly at Ahold's Columbia, MD, based U.S. Foodservice (USF) subsidiary, is expected to impact 2003 operating income.
Net sales at USF increased 5.9% to $4.3 billion, as compared with $4.0 billion for the same period in 2002. The increase was partially achieved through "low-margin business." Acquisitions of Allen Foods, St. Louis, and Lady Baltimore, Kansas City, in December and September 2002, respectively, contributed approximately 2% of the distributor's sales growth.
Ahold's third-quarter performance is slightly ahead of an analysts' consensus forecast of 12.7 billion euros, according to Dow Jones Newswires. U.S. retail and foodservice businesses did better than anticipated.
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