Zaandam, the Netherlands, November 6, 2019 – Ahold Delhaize, one of the world’s largest food retail groups and a leader in both supermarkets and eCommerce, reports third quarter results today.
Frans Muller, President and CEO of Ahold Delhaize, said: "We saw a strong overall performance at our U.S. brands, particularly at Food Lion and Hannaford. Stop & Shop is operating in a challenging sales environment, but we are encouraged by improving transactions as we move into the fourth quarter. Our ‘Re-imagine Stop & Shop’ program is off to a good start, and we are pleased with the sales uplifts seen in the 21 remodeled Long Island stores, which are performing in line with our expectations.
"U.S. comparable sales excluding gasoline were up 1.8% during the quarter, which included a 0.3% benefit from Hurricane Dorian. Excluding the net impact from Hurricane Dorian this year and Hurricane Florence last year, comparable sales excluding gasoline were up approximately 2% in the third quarter. Comparable sales were strong in light of challenging prior year comparisons. We were encouraged to see the two-year stacked comparable sales growth accelerated to 4.5% in the third quarter of 2019, adjusted for weather, versus 3.3% in the second quarter of 2019, adjusted for both the strike and calendar shift impacts. In addition, our online business in the U.S. grew by 26.3% at constant exchange rates in the quarter, giving us confidence that we can achieve over 20% growth in U.S. online sales in 2019.
"In the Netherlands, our performance remained solid, with 3.0% comparable sales growth. Market share at Albert Heijn was flat year over year in the third quarter, an improved trend over previous quarters. Net consumer online sales for the segment were up 30.7%. At bol.com, our online retail platform in the Benelux, net consumer sales grew by 34.0%. While one-time items benefited underlying operating margins in the Netherlands, this benefit was largely offset at the group level by the unfavorable year-over-year impact from insurance results. In Belgium, comparable sales excluding calendar impacts were down modestly, but we gained market share and the trend for both improved over the last quarter. In Central and Southeastern Europe, we saw a strong performance, particularly in the Czech Republic and Romania, and both Greece and Serbia improved over previous quarters.
"We continue to make progress on the execution of our Leading Together strategy. We are well underway with our Save for Our Customers program, which is now expected to deliver €600 million in 2019, higher than our previous target of €540 million. We achieved our goal of having more than 600 Click and Collect points in the U.S. by year-end, ahead of schedule, in October. Our fresh kitchen and culinary innovation center in Rhode Island, which will test new fresh own-brand food concepts and process fresh fruit and vegetables, is now ramping up. In the U.S. and Europe, we continue to innovate by testing various forms of frictionless payment.
"We remain focused on health and sustainability, in line with our purpose: 'Eat well. Save time. Live better.' We recently announced a global goal to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030 as part of the '10x20x30' initiative, which brings together 10 of the world's largest food retailers to engage with 20 of their priority suppliers to halve food loss and waste by 2030.
"Today we also reiterate our 2019 outlook announced during our second quarter 2019 results."
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