Online is key for Ahold Delhaize growth

Belgo-Dutch retailer Ahold Delhaize has seen sales and profit go up in its third quarter. A large part of the growth in both home markets and the United States was due to a surge in online sales.


Strong online growth

With a group turnover of 15.78 billion euros, Ahold Delhaize posted a general increase of 4.3 % and an online turnover increase by 27.6 %. Ahold Delhaize had put forward the objective of reaching an online turnover of at least 5 billion euros by 2020 and seems on its way to reach that target. In the Netherlands sales amounted to 3.47 billion euros (+ 5.8 %), thanks to the strong performance of Albert Heijn and their combined online sales increased by 33 %. Turnover in Belgium amounted to 1.23 billion euros (+ 1 %): a less pronounced increase than in the previous quarters. Online growth was also strong in Belgium: turnover rose by 18 % to 12 million euros.


Underlying operating profit increased by 9.6 % for the whole group, to 647 million euros. In the Netherlands, the underlying operating margin improved by 0.2 percentage points to 5.1 %. In Belgium, the retailer also managed to increase the operating margin: 3.2 %, an improvement of 2 percentage points.


Focus on convenience and health

Furthermore, the retailer can look back on positive results in Czechia, but faced a decrease in Greece. In the United States, sales increased by 3.2 % to 9.61 billion euros. Online revenue grew by 12 %, owing to improved results at Peapod.


CEO Frans Muller is pleased with the results, which he believes are due to investments in the store network and in digital initiatives, as well as an enhanced focus on convenience and health. He referred among other things to the repositioning of Stop & Shop in the US, the first cashless shops at Albert Heijn and the introduction of the nutriscore at Delhaize. On November 13, the retailer will present an update of its strategy in New York.