Ahold Delhaize has released its Q4 results, reporting that net sales increased by 3.0% at constant exchange rates to €16.6bn. Meanwhile net sales for the full year increased by 2.5% at constant exchange rates to €62.8bn.
USA Q4 net sales: +2.6% to €9.8bn
The retailer’s business in the USA, which accounts for around 60% of sales, saw Q4 net sales increase by 2.6% at constant exchange rates to €9.8bn.
Among the highlights, Ahold Delhaize called out Food Lion, which has now rolled out the “Easy, Fresh and Affordable” strategy to 70% of stores.
Netherlands Q4 net sales: +3.6% to €3.8bn…
Meanwhile in the Netherlands, Q4 net sales increased by 3.6% at constant exchange rates to €3.8bn.
…Comparable sales growth strongest in the Netherlands
When considering comparable sales growth, the Netherlands was Ahold Delhaize's best performing market, both in Q4 and for the full year, growing at 6.0% and 4.5% respectively during these periods.
The retailer said that its supermarkets and online business, helped to drive this performance. Its new concept supermarket, Albert Heijn Hoofddorp, was shortlisted for the IGD Store of the Year Award 2018, with the format excelling in fresh execution and digital integration. IGD Retail Analysis subscribers can read the store visit report in full here.
…As Marit van Egmond appointed as Brand President and CEO of Albert Heijn
While releasing these results, Ahold Delhaize has appointed Marit van Egmond as Brand President and CEO of Albert Heijn as of February 1st. Van Egmond is currently EVP Commerce at Albert Heijn and has 20 years of international experience.
This will leave Wouter Kolk to focus on his role as CEO Ahold Delhaize Europe and Indonesia.
As part of the retailer’s new “Leading Together” strategy, “he will leverage digital, eCommerce and synergy opportunities across the different markets to drive growth and create new business prospects... He will be supported by a small team that is currently being recruited and will be announced shortly”.
Van Egmond commented, “It is an honour to lead Albert Heijn moving forward. I strongly believe that food plays a central role in how people live. This is key for the Albert Heijn brand with its strong heritage in food and our highly relevant position in society. Combined with the tech- and digital capabilities of Albert Heijn, we can help customers make informed choices to live a healthier and more enjoyable life”.
Belgium Q4 net sales: +3.6% as it implements new operational strategy
In neighbouring Belgium, Q4 net sales increased by 3.6% at constant exchange rates to €1.3bn. Here, the retailer acknowledged that implementing its new operational strategy helped to drive comparable sales growth of 3.0% in Q4.
Central and Southeastern Europe Q4 net sales: +3.9%...
In the Central and Southeastern European division, which includes sales in Greece, Romania, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Indonesia, Q4 net sales at constant exchange rates increased by 3.9% to €1.6bn.
During the year, the region accounted for most new store openings, with 130 net new openings, bringing the regional store to a total of 1,880.
Czech Republic: “very strong sales performance”
Ahold Delhaize highlighted that “the Czech Republic reported a very strong sales performance with successful promotions resulting in both increased transactions and basket size in supermarkets as well as in its compact hypers”.
Greece remains challenging
In Greece, comparative sales remained under pressure, with competitors re-opening stores. However, performance improved during the year, with the retailer achieving “slightly positive volume growth this quarter”.
Online 2018: +25.3% to €3.5bn, strongest performance in Netherlands
Online continued to grow at pace, with net consumer online sales increasing by 25.3% at constant exchange rates to €3.5bn for the full year.
The strongest growth and came from the Netherlands, which remains the retailer’s largest online market. Here net consumer online sales increased by 30.2% at constant exchange rates to €2.7bn.
A key driver of performance here was Bol.com, which saw a 32.3% increase in net consumer online Q4, achieving net consumer online sales of €2.1bn for the full year.
Meanwhile in the USA, net consumer online sales increased by 10.3% at constant exchange rates to €751m for the full year. In Q4, the retailer noted an improving sales trend, with net consumer online sales increasing by 12.1% to €203m. I
At its Capital Markets Day in New York in November, Ahold Delhaize revealed that it is targeting 30%+ growth in its US online business by 2020, driven by Peapod.
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