Dutch grocery giant Ahold recorded an impressive set of first-quarter figures last week, revealing a stunning performance in the Netherlands and more evidence of turnaround in the US.

Ahold posted a 6.8 per cent rise in total sales at constant exchange rates to 7.5 billion (£5.93 billion) for the quarter to April 20.

Total sales at Ahold’s Albert Heijn grocery chain in the Netherlands – where it is the market leader – increased 13.5 per cent to 2.7 billion (£2.13 billion) and like-for-likes rose 11.3 per cent.

Exane BNP Paribas analyst Tim Attenborough said: “It started a price war about three years ago and it has wiped the floor with the competition.”

In the US, Ahold said that its Value Improvement Programme (VIP) at Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover is on track. “Price investments related to the roll-out of the programme continue to impact [on] margins and sales, with improvements expected later in the year. We remain vigilant about the economic environment and rising food prices.”

Like-for-like sales at Stop & Shop, including petrol sales, increased 1.2 per cent, but fell 1.5 per cent at Giant-Landover, driven partly by lower pharmacy sales.

Attenborough said: “VIP is really gaining traction.”

Ahold launched its VIP price investment strategy in 2006, alongside an enlarged refurbishment of its Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover stores.

Ahold’s US discount chain Giant-Carlisle reported a 3.7 per cent rise in like-for-likes, excluding petrol, for the quarter.