Strong Albert Heijn and stable Delhaize in fourth quarter

Strong Albert Heijn and stable Delhaize in fourth quarter

Belgian-Dutch retail group Ahold Delhaize has posted decent fourth quarter results, mainly thanks to excellent performances by Dutch subsidiaries Albert Heijn and Bol.com. Delhaize is holding steady in Belgium, but performs well in the US.

 

Busy holiday season

The merger group saw turnover grow 1.6 % (at level exchange rates) to 15.8 billion euro. Including the weak dollar however, there was a 3.6 % turnover drop. Turnover grew by 6 % like-for-like in the Netherlands, thanks to an extremely busy holiday season for Albert Heijn. The company also grabbed even more market share, from 35.2 % to 35.3 % in 2017. Bol.com grew 29.8 % in the fourth quarter, with a 1.6 billion euro annual turnover.

 

Belgian fourth quarter turnover remained stable compared to 2016, but including calendar effects there was actually a slight improvement. The group's stores in Belgium and Luxembourg performed well, and its market share remained stable as well.

 

Improved cashflow

A Greek turnover drop impacted its results in the region "Rest of Europe", leading to a mere 0.3 % like-for-like turnover increase. Delhaize America performed well in the United States, with a 1.5 % like-for-like turnover increase, as Ahold USA improved its position by 0.6 %.

 

For its full fiscal year, the pro forma turnover reached 62.7 billion euro, up 1.7 % at level exchange rates. The group expects the operational margin to reach 3.9 %, which is in line with expectations. The free cashflow will be beyond expectations, which may be good news for shareholders. Ahold Delhaize will publish its profit on 28 February.