As was to be expected, Ahold Delhaize experienced a major impact of the corona crisis during the past quarter. In both Belgium and the Netherlands, the retailer again managed to increase its market share.
Strong online growth
In the first quarter of 2020, Ahold Delhaize reported net sales of 18.2 billion euro, comparable growth was 12.2%. Comparable sales grew 13.8% in the U.S. and 9.8% in Europe. Net profit rose by 48.2% to 645 million euros. The underlying operating margin increased by 0.9 percentage points to 5.3%. Online sales grew by 37.7%. These figures are, of course, largely due to the exceptional impact of the corona crisis, which led to higher than expected consumer demand in all countries. The impact of the higher investments needed to be able to trade safely in corona times will only become fully visible in the second quarter, says the retailer.
The group gained market share in both Belgium and the Netherlands. In the other European countries the share remained stable. Online grew by 36%, mainly thanks to strong performance at bol.com, which increased its sales by 39.5%. Sales of partners on the platform increased by 66%. As many as 1,700 new partners joined the platform, so that there are now almost 21,000 trading partners active on the platform. In the US, online growth was as high as 42%. The retailer is investing heavily in expanding its capacity and expects to be able to achieve a 50% growth in revenue over the year as a whole.
Ahold Delhaize maintains its full year outlook but points out that additional investments will be needed in the coming quarter to get operations back on track after the corona crisis. In-stock levels will need to be improved, especially in categories like paper, sanitation, frozen or meat; store operations will be adapted to ensure safety and improve service; and the company also intends to further invest in e-commerce, which will further accelerate online growth.