Net sales of €14.9 billion, up 2.5% at constant exchange rates
Net consumer online sales up 23.2% at constant exchange rates
Underlying operating margin up 0.2%-point to 4.0%, underlying operating income €600 million
Net income up 25.7% at constant exchange rates to €407 million
Improved comparable sales growth in the U.S., with synergies driving further margin expansion
Encouraging sales trends in Belgium as a result of improved commercial and operational performance
Strong free cash flow of €441 million, up €244 million, mainly due to improved net working capital
Zaandam, the Netherlands, May 9, 2018 - Ahold Delhaize, one of the world's largest food retail groups and a leader in both supermarkets and e-commerce, reports another strong quarter with solid sales growth and higher margins, resulting in marked growth of operating income and strong growth of net income at constant exchange rates.
Dick Boer, CEO of Ahold Delhaize, said: "We are pleased with our performance during the first quarter, proving that the execution of our Better Together strategy continues to bear fruit, delivering sales growth and synergies throughout the business. Benefiting from our scale and building on our leading positions on the U.S. East Coast and in Europe, our great local brands demonstrated their capabilities and agility to meet rapidly changing consumer needs and preferences.
"First-quarter sales rose 2.5% at constant exchange rates to €14.9 billion, supported by a solid performance in our brick-and-mortar stores and ongoing strong growth of online businesses. Our underlying operating margin expanded to 4.0% from 3.8% in the same period last year, primarily driven by synergies. Net consumer online sales grew 23% across the group, maintaining our momentum to realize nearly €5 billion in online consumer sales by 2020.
"The U.S. brands, which are reported as one segment as of January 1, reported improved comparable sales growth excluding gasoline of 2.8%, supported by the favorable impact of holidays and some weather impact. The underlying operating margin rose 30 basis points to 4.3%, driven by synergies and with our "save for our customers" program offsetting cost inflation. In a competitive market with new entrants, Food Lion reported its 23rd consecutive quarter of comparable volume growth, as its "Easy, Fresh and Affordable" program is now deployed in more than 500 of its stores. Furthermore, online sales grew 9% across all our U.S. brands.
"The Netherlands reported comparable sales growth of 3.2%. Bol.com and ah.nl continued their strong performance, driving the 28% growth in net consumer sales, supported by ongoing investments. In Belgium, Delhaize reported encouraging sales figures, with comparable sales growth of 4.1%, as new management is starting to implement commercial and operational improvements. In Central and Southeastern Europe, Romania posted 19% sales growth, driven by strong comparable sales growth and new store openings, while sales in Greece were impacted by competition recovering, re-opening and remodeling their stores.
"We delivered €100 million of net cumulative synergy savings in the quarter, of which €44 million is incremental to the first quarter last year, and we remain firmly on track to realize €750 million of gross synergies by 2019, of which €250 million are to be reinvested in our brands.
"Free cash flow was €441 million, putting us on track to deliver on our target of around €1.9 billion, allowing us to keep investing in our omni-channel offering to provide customers with a convenient shopping experience and competitive prices.
"With Frans Muller succeeding me as CEO on July 1, I am confident our strong leadership team will continue to drive innovation and growth in stores and online as we create value for all our stakeholders and live up to our promise to be a better place to shop."
see and read more on
Ahold Delhaize extends SCAD option agreement, adopts additional commitments following shareholder feedback
Zaandam, the Netherlands, May 9, 2018 - Ahold Delhaize today announces that it has agreed to extend its option agreement with Stichting Continuïteit Ahold Delhaize (SCAD) while making additional commitments to shareholders.
The option agreement between Ahold Delhaize and SCAD was set to expire on December 15, 2018 and can be extended by mutual consent of the contracting parties.
After actively engaging with its shareholders and other stakeholders in recent months, Ahold Delhaize decided to extend the current agreement for 15 years, effective December 15, 2018.
Building on shareholder feedback, Ahold Delhaize has agreed with SCAD on two additional commitments:
Within six months after the option is exercised, Ahold Delhaize will call a shareholders meeting to discuss the situation with shareholders.
Within one year after the option is exercised, Ahold Delhaize will call a shareholders meeting to vote on cancellation of the shares issued to SCAD; SCAD will not vote its shares on that matter.
Ahold Delhaize believes that these commitments will provide increased transparency, predictability and interaction with shareholders in the event the option were to be exercised.
Ahold Delhaize EUR 19,164 -32,4ct vol. 1,3 milj.