Ahold Delhaize Sees Sales Slip Back In Belgium In Q1
Ahold Delhaize has posted a 2.3% decline in comparable sales in its Belgian operations in the first quarter of the year, compared to the same period last year.
The retailer posted net sales of €1.22 billion in Belgium for the period – a net decline of 2.2%, which it attributed to the strength of the first quarter of last year, as well as the later Easter this year.
“While sales in Belgium were adversely impacted by fewer opening days compared to a year ago, underlying trends show ongoing operational improvements,” commented Frans Muller, Ahold Delhaize president and chief executive.
In its home market of the Netherlands, however, Ahold Delhaize posted a comparable sales increase of 2.9%, driven by a strong performance in its e-commerce operations, with net consumer online sales rising by 29.5%.
The group posted a 3.5% increase in net sales in the Netherlands in Q1, to €3.53 billion.
The period also saw the remodelling of 26 Albert Heijn outlets, in line with a new retail concept built around fresh produce and digital interaction. Some 120 stores are earmarked for renovation this year.
Also in Europe, the group’s Central and South-Eastern European division posted a 0.8% increase in comparable sales in the quarter, with net sales up by 2.4% at constant exchange rates, to €1.47 billion.
The period saw Romania and the Czech Republic post ‘strong comparable sales growth’, the retailer reported, however, growth in Greece ‘remained negative’.
Ahold Delhaize’s largest division, the US, posted a 1.2% increase in comparable sales excluding gasoline, with net sales rising by 1.1%, to €9.67 billion.
The period saw extensive remodelling work carried out, with its Stop & Shop banner preparing for the next phase of its Re-imagining Stop & Shop remodelling programme on Long Island, while Food Lion announced that it is investing $158 million (€141 million) to remodel 92 stores in the Myrtle Beach, Florence, Columbia and Charleston areas in South Carolina this year.
Its Stop & Shop business was affected by strike action last month, with 240 stores across Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island affected.
Overall group net sales were up 1.5% at constant exchange rates, to €15.9 billion, adversely impacted by the timing of Easter, the group reported.
“The execution of our ‘Leading Together’ strategy is on track, as our results are starting to illustrate,” said Muller.
“During the quarter, we also launched our new purpose: eat well, save time, live better. These are the guiding principles in everything we do as we execute on our strategy. Throughout our businesses, we help our customers make healthier choices. Innovative solutions, both in store and online, make shopping more convenient and less time consuming, and to enable our customers to live better, we continue to support the local communities they live in,” he furthered.
© 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.