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Albertsons Comp Sales Up 7.5% in Q4 2021

Higher fuel sales and retail price inflation provide boost
Albertsons Cos.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Albertsons Co. CEO Vivek Sankaran said April 12 that the company’s "strategy is working" and that the Boise-based grocer is "executing well against industrywide pressures," as the company announced higher net sales and other revenue for the fiscal fourth quarter.  

In 2021's fiscal fourth quarter ending Feb. 26, Albertsons saw comparable sales, excluding fuel, rise 7.5%. On a two-year stack, comp sales were up 19.3%. Digital sales in the fourth quarter were up 287% on a two-year stack. Gross margin as a percent of sales totaled 28.7% in the quarter—a dip compared with the 28.9% recorded during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020.

Total revenues of $17.4 billion in the 12-week quarter were up vs. the $15.8 billion tallied during the same 12-week period in fiscal 2020. The company said in a statement the increase was driven in part by higher fuel sales and retail price inflation.

For the full fiscal year, identical-store sales were down 0.1% vs. 2020 but up 16.8% vs. fiscal 2019. Digital sales were up 5% for the full year and up 263% on a two-year stack. Net income for the fiscal year was $1.62 billion, or $2.70 per share. Adjusted net income was $1.78 billion, or $3.07 per share. The company said adjusted EBITDA was $4.398 billion.

Throughout fiscal 2021, capital expenditures totaled $1.6 billion, related primarily to investments in the modernization of the company's store fleet, including 236 remodels and the opening of 10 new stores, and the building of digital and technology platforms, Albertsons said in a statement.

Albertsons also delivered financial guidance for the new year. Comparable-store sales growth for the year is expected to be between 2% and 3%, and adjusted EBITDA is expected to be in the range of $4.15 billion to $4.25 billion. Earnings per share are expected to come in at $2.70 to $2.85, and capital expenditures are expected to be at or just above $2 billion.

“We are very proud of what our team accomplished in fiscal 2020, serving our customers and communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sankaran. “As a result of our strong execution, we delivered record full-year results, drove meaningful market share gains, and are well positioned for continued success and strong performance in fiscal 2021.

Despite the current inflationary headwinds, Sankaran said the “momentum continues” for the grocery retailer as it looks to expand its digital and technology platforms.In November, the company announced the launch of the Albertsons Media Collective, a retail media network, which will offer business partners a digital marketing platform and omnichannel solutions to reach the grocer's customer network.

In February, Albertsons' board of directors said it had begun a review of potential strategic alternatives for the company aimed at enhancing Albertsons’ growth and maximizing shareholder value; in the company's earnings release, Albertsons reiterated that its board has set no timetable for the review and said no decisions pertaining to it have yet been made.

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