Amsterdam, the Netherlands – Ahold today published its interim report for the second quarter and half year 2011. CEO Dick Boer said: “We continued to perform well and grew market share in the United States and the Netherlands. We were able to mitigate gross margin pressure through rigorous cost control as customers continue to focus on value in an environment of increasing inflation and intense promotional activity, particularly in the United States.
“Sales and margins were impacted by the timing of Easter. In addition, operating income was impacted by unfavorable exchange rates and restructuring charges. We remain well positioned to manage the balance between sales and margins.
“In view of capital market conditions, we have decided to accelerate the €1 billion share buyback program that we started on March 7, 2011. The acceleration will have immediate effect and we expect the program to be completed by March 2012.”
This interim report includes forward-looking statements, which do not refer to historical facts but refer to expectations based on management's current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those included in such statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements as to Ahold managing the balance between sales and margins in an environment of increasing inflation and intense promotional activity, acceleration and completion of the €1 billion share buyback program, extension of the €1.2 billion credit facility and Ahold’s key business risks. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Many of these risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond Ahold’s ability to control or estimate precisely, such as the effect of general economic or political conditions, fluctuations in exchange rates or interest rates, increases or changes in competition, Ahold’s ability to implement and complete successfully its plans and strategies, the benefits from and resources generated by Ahold’s plans and strategies being less than or different from those anticipated, changes in Ahold’s liquidity needs, the actions of competitors and third parties and other factors discussed in Ahold’s public filings and other disclosures. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this interim report. Ahold does not assume any obligation to update any public information or forward-looking statements in this interim report to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as may be required by applicable laws. Outside the Netherlands, Koninklijke Ahold N.V., being its registered name, presents itself under the name of “Royal Ahold” or simply “Ahold”.
Financial Highlights Second Quarter 2011 (at identical exchange rates)
Pierre-Olivier Beckers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Delhaize Group, commented: “In the second quarter, revenue growth accelerated in all operating segments as a result of the continued implementation of our New Game Plan. Comparable store sales growth, helped by sales initiatives and higher retail inflation, turned positive again in the U.S. We are especially encouraged by improving volume trends in the U.S. Southeast, while our Hannaford operations continued their strong performance. Alfa Beta again gained market share and grew revenues despite the tough Greek economic climate. The acquisition of Delta Maxi, allowing us to accelerate revenue contribution in Southeastern Europe, is a significant step in the rebalancing of our portfolio towards higher growth markets.”
“At the end of the first half of 2011, our results are in line with our plans. Despite the slight delay we are experiencing in the U.S. category management and supply chain savings, we are confident that the second half of the year will show an acceleration of our revenue and profit momentum. In addition, first results from the two re-launched Food Lion markets are very encouraging and strengthen our conviction that we are pulling the right levers.”
“At the end of the second quarter, we are midway towards our 2012 annual gross savings target of EUR 500 million and we have achieved already 60% of the planned cost savings to date. These continue to provide us with the necessary fuel to further invest in prices, other sales building initiatives, such as our Food Lion brand repositioning work, and to cover inflation and other cost increases.”