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Ahold reports results for 3Q 2008

BY Jenna Duncan

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands Ahold, a company that owns and operates hundreds of supermarkets in the United States as well as Europe under Stop & Shop, Peapod, Giant-Landover grocery brand banners, has reported its earnings for the third quarter 2008.

Ahold reported earnings of 7.6 percent for the quarter. Ahold reported that its operating costs total 262 million euros ($327.9 million U.S. dollars), up 26 million (EU), or about 10 percent.

Ahold reported its net income totaled 195 million EU (U.S. $244 million.), which was down 19 million EU (U.S. $23.8 million), or about 10 percent.

“We delivered a solid performance in our third quarter. I was particularly pleased with the increase in identical sales at Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover as a result of the actions we have taken under the Value Improvement Program over the last two years,” Ahold chief executive officer John Rishton said. “The company has a healthy balance sheet and is well-positioned to offer value to our customers in the current economic environment. The price investments made in recent years have strengthened the competitive position of all our banners, but we remain vigilant and will respond to changes in consumer and competitor behavior. 

“Underlying retail operating margin guidance for the year remains unchanged at 4.8 percent- 5.3 percent.” 

The company also said that same store sales at Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover stores had improved. And that underlying retail operating margin guidance for the period remained the same.

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InBev finalizes purchase of Anheuser-Busch

BY Jenna Duncan

LEUVEN, Belgium InBev announced today that it has finalizes its acquisition of U.S. brewer Anheuser-Busch Cos.

The maker of Beck’s beer announced that the new company will be called Anheuser-Busch InBev and will trade under a new symbol starting Nov. 20. The buyout deal was worth $52 billion total, or $70 per share.

The newly combined company will produce about one-quarter of the beer consumed in the world and will generate about $36 billion annually, the companies said.

InBev also has recently reached an agreement with regulators to sell holdings of the Labatt USA beer business and licenses.

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Kroger opens another ‘fresh fare’ store in Ohio

BY Jenna Duncan

CINCINNATI Kroger has opened its third fresh fare market in its home state, the company announced Tuesday.

The format of the fresh fare markets is designed to be more like a country grocery store than a traditional supermarket, with wider aisles and more gourmet options, reports said. The fresh fare stores also stocks many more options for ready-to-eat home meals, an expanded selection of organic produce, hearth-style pizzas and a build-it-yourself burrito bar.

Kroger’s fresh fare markets also carry less general merchandise items, such as home and yard furniture.

Kroger said that outside of Ohio it currently operates about 80 fresh fare markets, mostly on the West Coast, which operate under the Ralph’s umbrella.

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