Ahold has posted year-on-year sales up 1.9% to e23bn (£19.7bn) in the first nine months of 2011. Operating income was e1bn (£861m), down 2.1%. The retailer achieved like-for-like sales growth across its operations in Europe and the US.

Ahold chief executive Dick Boer said: “Customers remain cautious in their spending and focus on value in an inflationary environment.

We continue to adapt to the challenging market conditions, balancing sales and margins.”