Ahold posted a 22% uplift in third-quarter net profits, but warned competition will intensify in the run-up to Christmas.

The Dutch grocery group said earnings from one of its US chains, Giant-Carlisle, had been hit by intense competition from Walmart. Group net profit in the three months to September 30 was e238m (£214.5m).

The group also revealed a new cost efficiency programme to cut store and supply chain expenses that will run until 2012. It also wants to increase its market share in the Netherlands from 15% to 20%.