Grocery giant Ahold posted strong net sales growth of 15.2 per cent to €8.7bn (£7.8bn) for the first quarter ending April 19, led by a strong performance in its core European and US markets. Its Albert Heijn chain generated net sales growth of 12.3 per cent to €3bn (£2.7bn). In the US, Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover sales increased 3.6 per cent to $5.3bn (£3.5bn) and at Giant-Carlisle sales rose 3.4 per cent to $1.5bn (£990m). However, sales at Ahold’s Czech Republic and Slovakian Albert/Hypernova operations fell 3.9 per cent and joint venture ICA’s plunged 9.0 per cent.