Strong performances from its U.S. banners helped drive sales and income growth at retail giant Ahold Delhaize in the first quarter of 2018.

Net sales at Zaandam, the Netherlands-based Ahold totaled 14.9 billion euros in the quarter, up 2.5 percent from the same quarter last year. Net income rose 25.7 percent to 407 million euros. The company also saw a 23 percent rise in net consumer online sales.

Dick Boer, Ahold’s CEO, cited strong sales in its U.S. division as among the top reasons for the company’s successful quarter. The company’s U.S. banners include Food Lion, Stop & Shop, Hannaford, Giant, Martin’s and the online grocery deliver service Peapod.

"The U.S. brands, which are reported as one segment as of Jan. 1, reported improved comparable sales growth excluding gasoline of 2.8 percent, supported by the favorable impact of holidays and some weather impact,” Boer says. “The underlying operating margin rose 30 basis points to 4.3 percent, driven by synergies and with our ‘save for our customers’ program offsetting cost inflation.”

In a competitive market with new entrants, Food Lion reported its 23rd consecutive quarter of comparable volume growth, as its "Easy, Fresh and Affordable" program is now deployed in more than 500 of its stores, Boer says. In addition, online sales grew 9 percent across all of Ahold’s U.S. banners.