Dutch-based retailer Ahold has posted a full-year loss of 1bn euros for 2003 in the wake of its accounting scandal last year and said group sales fell 10.6% due to tough trading conditions and intense competition.

Ahold said the loss was down from 1.2bn euros for 2002, but that sales fell to 56.1bn euros. It noted that net debt had dropped to 7.5bn euros at end 2003 from 12.3bn euros in 2002.

Chief executive officer at Ahold Anders Moberg said that 2003 had been a “lost year”, but that the results showed that Ahold was “back on track” through its Road to Recovery programme.