Grocer Delhaize reported sales up 5.9% to E5.5bn (£4.48bn) for the first quarter of 2012 but underlying operating profit dropped 16.9% to E189m (£153.8m).

In the US, sales were down 1.2% to $4.6bn (£2.84bn), corresponding to a dip of 0.6% in like-for-likes.

At the end of March, Delhaize operated 1,541 shops in the US, 94 fewer than in March 2011. Underlying operating profit fell 21.7%. In Belgium, revenues increased 3.2% to E1.2bn (£976.5m).