Trading Statement Fourth quarter and Full year 2016

Ahold Delhaize reports strong sales growth in the fourth quarter:

  • Pro forma net sales of €15.5 billion, up 2.8% at constant exchange rates and adjusted for week 53 in 2015
  • Comparable sales down 0.2% at Ahold USA with resilient volume trends in a solid holiday season
  • Comparable sales growth of 2.2% at Delhaize America with strong volume growth
  • Outstanding sales performance in the Netherlands both in supermarkets and online, with comparable sales up 6.6%
  • Online net consumer sales up 27.9% at constant exchange rates and adjusted for week 53 in 2015 in the fourth quarter and reached €2.3 billion for the full year 2016
  • Expected FY 2016 pro forma underlying operating margin slightly ahead of 2015
  • Expected FY 2016 free cash flow of around €1.3 billion

 

Zaandam, the Netherlands - January 19, 2017 - Ahold Delhaize today announced consolidated net sales of €15.1 billion for the fourth quarter of 2016, an increase of 54.5% compared to the fourth quarter of last year, corresponding to pro forma net sales of €15.5 billion.

Overall our business showed a strong performance in the fourth quarter, resulting in a net sales growth of 2.8% on a pro forma basis, at constant exchange rates and adjusted for week 53 in 2015. For the full year 2016, pro forma net sales reached €62.3 billion, up 3.4% at constant exchange rates and adjusted for week 53 in 2015.

After a solid holiday season, in particular at Stop & Shop New England, comparable sales at Ahold USA were slightly down by 0.2%, while increasing market share excluding Stop & Shop New York Metro as sales in the fourth quarter of 2015 benefited from competitive closures in that market. Shelf price deflation was 1.2%, broadly in line with the previous quarter.

Delhaize America delivered strong comparable sales growth of 2.2% and both Food Lion and Hannaford grew volumes significantly. In October, Food Lion implemented its “Easy, Fresh & Affordable” initiative in 142 stores in the Charlotte market, with positive initial customer response especially in Fresh. Shelf price deflation was 1.7%, broadly in line with the previous quarter.

The Netherlands had an outstanding performance with comparable sales growth of 6.6%, driven by assortment innovations and improved service in our supermarkets and strong sales growth of the online businesses bol.com and ah.nl. In December, Albert Heijn was named best supermarket in the Netherlands by market research company GfK. Market share of Albert Heijn for the full year slightly increased compared to last year.

In Belgium comparable sales decreased 0.9%, when comparing to a strong fourth quarter in 2015. Market share remained stable for the full year compared to last year.

In Central and Southeastern Europe, comparable sales growth was 3.4%. Growth was mainly driven by Romania, with very strong comparable sales and further expansion of the store network. In Greece, comparable sales growth remained positive despite last year's exceptional fourth quarter which benefited from market disruptions.

Outlook

For the full year 2016, we confirm our guidance for:

  • pro forma underlying operating margin for the group to be broadly in line with our performance in the first three quarters and to be slightly ahead of 2015’s underlying operating margin,
  • free cash flow (including the Delhaize Group for a full year) to be around €1.3 billion.

 

Cautionary notice

Forward-looking statements
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