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BRUSSELS, May 10 (Reuters) - Retail group Ahold Delhaize reported on Wednesday a higher-than-expected operating profit in the first quarter, aided by cost savings that offset weaker sales in the United States.
The company, which was formed after Dutch Ahold merged with Belgium's Delhaize last July, reported a first-quarter operating profit, adjusted for one-off items, of 604 million euros ($657.76 million), above the average forecast of 589 million euros in a Reuters poll.
Ahold Delhaize, which operates supermarket chains such as Food Lion and Stop&Shop in the United States, said it also expected profit margins for 2017 as a whole to be above those of last year, repeating that it was still aiming for 220 million euros of savings coming from the merger this year. ($1 = 0.9183 euros) (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)