* from continuing operations
Zaandam, the Netherlands, August 7, 2019 – Ahold Delhaize, one of the world’s largest food retail groups and a leader in both supermarkets and eCommerce, today reports second quarter results.
Frans Muller, President and CEO of Ahold Delhaize, said: "Although our results were impacted by the strike at Stop & Shop, our other U.S. brands continued their strong performance. As we continue to see sales performance improve at Stop & Shop, we expect no significant impact from the strike in the second half of the year.
"U.S. comparable sales excluding gasoline were up 0.2% during the quarter, with the strike impact offset by the strong performance of our other brands, in particular Food Lion. Excluding the impact from the strike and subsequent period of sales recovery and the favorable timing of Easter, comparable sales excluding gasoline were up 2.3%. Our online business in the U.S. grew 14.4%, or 18% excluding the adverse impact of the strike and we remain confident that we can achieve over 20% growth in U.S. online sales in 2019.
"In the Netherlands, performance remained solid, with 3.1% comparable sales growth, adjusted for Easter. Net consumer online sales were up 34.4%, with bol.com, the most successful online retail platform in the Benelux, growing net consumer sales by 37.5%. In Belgium, comparable sales were slightly below last year, but underlying operating margins further improved compared to 2018. In Central and Southeastern Europe, the sales performance in Greece improved over previous quarters.
"During the quarter, we continued to make steady progress on the execution of our Leading Together strategy. We started the rollout of our "Re-imagine Stop & Shop" program on Long Island, implementing learnings from the Hartford, Connecticut, stores we remodeled last year. We also launched various fresh food initiatives across the businesses in both the U.S. and Europe, providing healthy and convenient meal solutions for our customers. Highlighting our commitment to sustainability, we successfully issued a €600 million Sustainability Bond, making Ahold Delhaize the first retailer to issue a euro-denominated Sustainability Bond.
"With the integration of Ahold and Delhaize now fully completed, we achieved net synergies of €512 million on an annual run-rate basis, slightly ahead of our target. We are well underway with our Save for Our Customers program which is expected to deliver €540 million in 2019.
"Today, we also reiterate the 2019 outlook that we announced when we published our first quarter 2019 results.
"For the first half of 2019, we will pay an interim dividend of €0.30, based on 40% of first half 2019 underlying income per share from continuing operations."
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Forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that are difficult to predict and that may cause the 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 the Company’s inability to successfully implement its strategy, manage the growth of its business or realize the anticipated benefits of acquisitions; risks relating to competition and pressure on profit margins in the food retail industry; the impact of economic conditions on consumer spending; turbulence in the global capital markets; natural disasters and geopolitical events; climate change; raw material scarcity and human rights developments in the supply chain; disruption of operations and other factors negatively affecting the Company’s suppliers; the unsuccessful operation of the Company’s franchised and affiliated stores; changes in supplier terms and the inability to pass on cost increases to prices; risks related to corporate responsibility and sustainable retailing; food safety issues resulting in product liability claims and adverse publicity; environmental liabilities associated with the properties that the Company owns or leases; competitive labor markets, changes in labor conditions and labor disruptions; increases in costs associated with the Company’s defined benefit pension plans; the failure or breach of security of IT systems; the Company’s inability to successfully complete divestitures and the effect of contingent liabilities arising from completed divestitures; antitrust and similar legislation; unexpected outcomes in the Company’s legal proceedings; additional expenses or capital expenditures associated with compliance with federal, regional, state and local laws and regulations; unexpected outcomes with respect to tax audits; the impact of the Company’s outstanding financial debt; the Company’s ability to generate positive cash flows; fluctuation in interest rates; the change in reference interest rate; the impact of downgrades of the Company’s credit ratings and the associated increase in the Company’s cost of borrowing; exchange rate fluctuations; inherent limitations in the Company’s control systems; changes in accounting standards; adverse results arising from the Company’s claims against its self-insurance program; the Company’s inability to locate appropriate real estate or enter into real estate leases on commercially acceptable terms; and other factors discussed in the Company’s public filings and other disclosures.
Forward-looking statements reflect the current views of the Company’s management and assumptions based on information currently available to the Company’s management. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and the Company does not assume any obligation to update such statements, except as required by law.