Ahold today published its interim report for the third quarter of 2012.

CEO Dick Boer said: “We continued to invest in competitiveness and gained market share in our major markets. Market conditions remained challenging, with consumers cautious in their spending and with ongoing high levels of promotional activity in both the United States and Europe.

“Sales growth in the United States was modest, reflecting declining retail price inflation and a strong sales quarter last year. Through stringent cost control we were able to deliver a solid margin performance. In the Netherlands we were pleased with a strong sales performance, as our value investments gained traction. Margins in the Netherlands were impacted by these investments, which were not fully offset by cost savings and by the inclusion of bol.com for the full quarter.

“We remain cautious in our outlook and expect market conditions to continue to be difficult. We will closely monitor the potential impact of rising food commodity costs, particularly in the United States. We are confident that we are well on track to execute our strategy and we will continue to invest in growth.”

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