Ahold Delhaize posted a 1.6% increase in net sales in its fiscal fourth quarter at constant exchange rates to 15.8 billion euros (about $19.6 million), on a strong holiday performance of its Netherlands stores and modest sales growth at Delhaize America banners.
Both of the company’s now-merged U.S. divisions, Delhaize America, and Ahold USA, managed small gains in comparable stores excluding gas, although Ahold USA’s 0.6% comp figure was less than estimated inflation of 1.1% in those markets during the quarter. Delhaize America grew comps by 1.5% and exceeded slower inflation estimated at 0.7%. Ahold USA includes the Stop & Shop, Giant-Landover, Giant-Carlisle and Peapod while Delhaize America comprises the Food Lion and Hannaford banners.
During the forth quarter and fiscal year ended Dec. 31, sales performance at Ahold USA was in line with the previous quarter, and slightly improved after adjusting for weather and holiday effects in last year’s fourth quarter. Giant Carlisle reported a strong quarter, with new beer and wine locations driving increased transactions. Quarterly sales totaled around $6.9 billion at Ahold USA, a 0.7% decline at constant exchange rates.
Both Food Lion and Hannaford showed same-store growth in the quarter, with Food Lion continuing to benefit from its “Easy, Fresh & Affordable” repositioning. Those chains combined for about $4.6 billion in sales in the quarter, a 1.2% increase at constant exchange rates.
Ahold will review full quarterly and fiscal year financial results Feb. 28. It said it expected to report underlying operating margins of 3.9% for the year, in line with its guidance.