Europe's top grocery retailers posted healthy rises in full-year 2001 sales this week. Sales at German food giant Metro rose 5.5% to E49.5bn, falling short of its own target of 6%, but remaining well above the industry average. While the departure of chief financial officer A Stefan Kirsten came as a surprise, analysts said the figures were encouraging, driven by a strong performance from the cash & carry division. Belgian retailer Delhaize posted a 17% increase in 2001 sales to E21.4bn, boosted by its US operations. Ahold sales rose 27% to E66.6bn, boosted by acquisitions in the US . Although sales were lower than last year in Argentina, the country represents only a tiny percentage of Ahold's global sales. {{NEWS }}