Ahold Delhaize, headquartered in the Netherlands, reports consolidated net sales of 16.5 billion euros for the fourth quarter of 2018, an increase of 3 percent at constant exchange rates compared to the fourth quarter of last year.
Ahold Delhaize operates retail food stores primarily in the U.S. and Europe. The company’s store formats include supermarkets, superstores, online grocery shopping, convenience stores, drugstores, wine and liquor stores and online shopping for general merchandise. Its U.S. brands include Food Lion, Giant Martins, Giant Food, Hannaford, Stop & Shop and Peapod.
The business delivered a strong sales performance in the fourth quarter and for the full year 2018. For the full year, net sales reached 62.8 billion euros, up 2.5 percent at constant exchange rates.
In the U.S., sales performance continued to show good momentum with 2.7 percent comparable sales growth (excluding gasoline) in the fourth quarter, including a slightly favorable weather impact. In the markets, there was a lower level of inflation compared to the previous quarter. Online sales growth accelerated to 12.1 percent at constant exchange rates as food e-commerce initiatives started to gain traction at each brand. Food Lion continued to benefit from the roll-out of the “Easy, Fresh and Affordable” program now in 70 percent of its stores. Full year 2018 market share across the brands is expected to have increased compared to last year.
For the full year 2018, it is expected that underlying earnings per share from continuing operations to be at the higher end of previous guidance of 1.50-1.60 euros. Full year, free cash flow is expected to be more than 2.0 billion euros, supported by further improvements in net working capital. Capital expenditure for 2018 is expected to be 1.8 billion euros in line with previous guidance.