Global retailer Ahold – troubled by accounting scandals and high debt – has posted a 12% drop in first half sales in what it called “a difficult market climate”. Interim group sales fell to €30.3bn from €34.5bn

The Netherlands-based group said European sales – which include its flagship chain Albert Heijn in its home market – rose 1.6% to €7.3bn.

In the US, where Ahold operates Stop & Shop, BI-LO, Bruno's and Giant supermarkets, sales were up 3.2% to €14.5bn. At its US Foodservice unit sales fell 0.7% to €9.4bn.