Ahold Delhaize has posted a 1.5% increase in sales at constant exchange rates in its second quarter, to €16.3 billion, saying that its performance was impacted by a strike at its US-based Stop & Shop operations.
Despite this setback, Frans Muller, the group’s chief executive said that Ahold Delhaize expects “no significant impact” from the strike in the second half of the year, adding that its other US banners “continued their strong performance” in the period.
The group posted comparable sales growth of 0.2% (excluding gasoline) in its US business in the second quarter, reporting sales of €9.78 billion for the segment.
It said that if the impact from the 11-day strike is excluded, comparable sales excluding gasoline were up 2.3% in its US business.
Closer to Home
In its home market, the Netherlands, Ahold Delhaize posted a 3.8% increase in comparable sales in the second quarter, with the group reporting sales of €3.68 billion for the period.
It said that its Dutch performance was boosted by the conversion of Albert Heijn stores to a new fresh-focused concept, and the continued growth of bol.com.
Comparable sales in its Belgium operation saw a marginal decline of 0.2% in the second quarter, with the division reporting sales of €1.29 billion, flat compared to the previous year.
However it said that its Proxy and Shop & Go proximity store concepts ‘performed well’ and it is planning more openings for the second half of the year.
In Central and Southeastern Europe, meanwhile, comparable sales growth (excluding gasoline) was 3.5%, with the division seeing sales of €1.57 billion for the period.
Romania and the Czech Republic saw ‘high single-digit comparable sales growth’ in the quarter, while Greece remains negative, despite showing some improvement in performance.
"In the Netherlands, performance remained solid, with 3.1% comparable sales growth, adjusted for Easter,” commented Muller. “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.”
Muller added that the business has finalised its integration process, achieving net synergies of €512 million on an annual run-rate basis, which was slightly ahead of target. In the second quarter, net synergies amounted to €128 million.
© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.