Ahold delivered a strong start to the year with good momentum across all markets
- 4.3% increase in Q1 Group sales to €11.8 billion (up 3.5% at constant exchange rates)
- Continued strong online sales growth, with net consumer sales up 27.4% at constant exchange rates
- Underlying operating margin of 3.8% (Q1 2015: 3.5%)
- 15.1% increase in Group underlying operating income (up 14.7% at constant exchange rates)
- Strong free cash flow of €287 million (Q1 2015: €186 million)
- Simplicity program and continued cost control driving improved profitability
- Announced merger with Delhaize on track to close in mid-2016
Zaandam, The Netherlands – Ahold today announced a strong start to the year, reflecting good performances across all its markets. This included net sales of €11.8 billion, driven by solid store operations and a continued strong increase in online sales, improved profitability and a strong free cash flow.
Ahold CEO Dick Boer said: “We continue to deliver on our strategic objectives, with a good operational and financial performance in the first quarter. Our focus remains on serving our customers and delivering on our Simplicity program, in order to invest in our great local brands to ensure that we provide even more value and innovation.
"In the Netherlands, we were pleased to continue to deliver strong identical sales growth, as our customers respond positively to the ongoing improvements we are making to our stores, assortment and service. Our online businesses, bol.com and ah.nl, delivered excellent growth of over 30% in net consumer sales during the quarter. In the United States, we had a solid performance and continued to invest in our customer proposition, including the rollout of our new bakery departments. Peapod reported double-digit sales growth, further expanding its customer base in New York City. We were pleased with the encouraging performance in the Czech Republic, where the sales trend of the larger former SPAR stores further improved.
"Finally, we continue to make good progress on our proposed merger with Delhaize, which we expect to complete in mid-2016. Working together towards this common goal reaffirms our view that the merger will create a better and more innovative retailer, capable of delivering enhanced value for our customers, associates and shareholders.”
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