Ahold Delhaize Q1 2019 results

Ahold Delhaize reports a solid quarter with growth in sales and net income

  • Net sales of €15.9 billion, up 1.5% at constant exchange rates, adversely impacted by Easter timing
  • Net consumer online sales up 25.0% at constant exchange rates
  • Underlying operating margin of 4.4%, stable compared to the same quarter last year
  • Net income of €435 million, up 2.4% at constant exchange rates
  • Good performance in the U.S., not yet impacted by Stop & Shop strikes
  • Solid results in the Netherlands, with bol.com net consumer sales up 35.2%

Zaandam, the Netherlands, May 8, 2019 – Ahold Delhaize, one of the world’s largest food retail groups and a leader in both supermarkets and eCommerce, reports a solid first quarter with growth in sales, underlying operating income and net income at constant exchange rates.

Frans Muller, President and CEO of Ahold Delhaize, said: “The execution of our Leading Together strategy is on track as our results are starting to illustrate. During the quarter, we also launched our new purpose: eat well, save time, live better. These are the guiding principles in everything we do as we execute on our strategy. Throughout our businesses we help our customers make healthier choices. Innovative solutions, both in-store and online, make shopping more convenient and less time-consuming. And to enable our customers to live better, we continue to support the local communities they live in.

“In the U.S., we had a good quarter, as we continue to invest in our customer experience and expand and improve our online offering. This resulted in comparable sales growth of 1.2%, excluding gasoline, or 2.2% adjusted for the timing of Easter. Our underlying operating margin came in at 4.9%, benefiting from synergies and our Save for Our Customers program with savings ahead of investments in our customer proposition.

“In the Netherlands, performance remained solid with net sales up 3.5% compared to a year ago. Net consumer sales at bol.com were up 35.2%. Our underlying operating margin came in at 5.0%, with start up investments in logistics and distribution this quarter. While sales in Belgium were adversely impacted by fewer opening days compared to a year ago, underlying trends show ongoing operational improvements. In Central and Southeastern Europe, the business in the Czech Republic and Romania reported a strong performance again this quarter.

“Free cash flow for the first quarter was negative by €136 million due to the timing of Easter, greater capital expenditure and higher income taxes paid. We remain committed to maintaining a balance between investing in our stores and rapidly growing our online businesses and an efficient, solid capital structure.

“As announced on April 23, we have adjusted our full-year outlook to reflect the one-off impact of the strikes at Stop & Shop. We now anticipate underlying operating margin for the group for 2019 to be slightly lower than 2018. Additionally, the percentage growth of underlying earnings per share in 2019 is revised from high single digits to low single digits. At the same time, we reiterate our expectation for 2019 free cash flow of around €1.8 billion, with capital expenditure of €2.0 billion.

"The period of the strikes has been challenging for everyone. However, we were able to reach fair and responsible agreements for our Stop & Shop associates in New England. We thank our customers for their patience and are welcoming them back to our stores to continue to provide them with great quality, service, selection and value."

 

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Forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that are difficult to predict and that may cause actual results of Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize N.V. (the “Company”) to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to risks relating to competition and pressure on profit margins in the food retail industry; the impact of the Company’s outstanding financial debt; future changes in accounting standards; the Company’s ability to generate positive cash flows; general economic conditions; the Company’s international operations; the impact of economic conditions on consumer spending; turbulences in the global credit markets and the economy; the significance of the Company’s U.S. operations and the concentration of its U.S. operations on the east coast of the U.S.; increases in interest rates and the impact of downgrades in the Company’s credit ratings; competitive labor markets, changes in labor conditions and labor disruptions; environmental liabilities associated with the properties that the Company owns or leases; the Company’s inability to locate appropriate real estate or enter into real estate leases on commercially acceptable terms; exchange rate fluctuations; additional expenses or capital expenditures associated with compliance with federal, regional, state and local laws and regulations in the U.S., the Netherlands, Belgium and other countries; product liability claims and adverse publicity; risks related to corporate responsibility and sustainable retailing; the Company’s inability to successfully implement its strategy, manage the growth of its business or realize the anticipated benefits of acquisitions; its inability to successfully complete divestitures and the effect of contingent liabilities arising from completed divestitures; unexpected outcomes with respect to tax audits; disruption of operations and other factors negatively affecting the Company’s suppliers; the unsuccessful operation of the Company’s franchised and affiliated stores; natural disasters and geopolitical events; inherent limitations in the Company’s control systems; the failure or breach of security of IT systems; changes in supplier terms; antitrust and similar legislation; unexpected outcome in the Company’s legal proceedings; adverse results arising from the Company’s claims against its self-insurance programs; increase in costs associated with the Company’s defined benefit pension plans; and other factors discussed in the Company’s public filings and other disclosures.

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