International food retail group Ahold Delhaize has reported net sales of €21.6bn ($23.57bn) during the first quarter (Q1) of 2023.

The net sales increased by 6.3% at constant exchange rates and 9.4% at actual exchange rates, compared to €19.77m ($21.57m) during the corresponding period last year.

The Netherlands-based company operates retail stores under multiple brands, including Food Lion, Hannaford and The Giant Company. The company stated that the net sales growth was primarily due to comparable sales growth excluding gasoline of 6.2%.

The net sales in the US increased by 5.7% at constant exchange rates to €13.5bn ($14.73bn) compared to the same quarter last year.

Food Lion remains a top performer among the company’s US brands, delivering its 42nd consecutive quarter of positive sales growth.

During the quarter, the net sales in the European market rose by 7.2% at constant exchange rates to €8.1bn ($8.84bn) compared to Q1 2022.

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The group’s net consumer online sales increased to €2.92bn ($3.19bn) during the quarter, up by 5.9% at constant exchange rates. The growth was driven by strong performance in the US, which registered an 11.9% growth compared to Q1 2022.

The net consumer online sales in Europe increased by 2.5% to €1.8bn ($1.96bn) during the quarter.

The group-wide online sales in grocery soared by 9.7% at constant exchange rates.

Ahold Delhaize posted a net income of €561m ($612.14m) during the quarter, compared to €546m ($615.42m) in Q1 2022.

Its diluted earnings per share increased by 6.3% to €0.57 ($0.62) against €0.54 ($0.59) in the same quarter of the prior year.

Ahold Delhaize president and CEO Frans Muller said: “Our brands’ ability to adapt their assortments and omnichannel customer journeys to rising consumer price sensitivity is resonating well with customers and this is clearly reflected in our Q1 results.

“Our strong earnings performance was largely driven by a strong operating performance in the US, which partially offset increased energy costs in Europe and the impact of strikes in Belgium.

“The US brands continue to deliver consistent and strong performance. In the quarter, comparable sales grew by 8.1%, excluding weather and calendar shifts. We also delivered a strong underlying operating profit, driven by better shelf availability, as supply chains are much improved compared to a year ago.”