All U.S. banners under Ahold see double-digit growth

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Ahold Delhaize reported same-store sales up 20.6% in the United States and up 10.2% in Europe; net sales were up 17.1% to €19.1 billion. The retailer said every U.S. banner had double-digit same-store sales gains for the quarter.

The company and its various banners are seeing pandemic-fueled gains like many retailers reporting successful quarters in the past week such as Albertsons and Publix, for example. This includes a huge digital bump. Ahold saw online sales grow by 126.8% in Q2, pushing its annual target to exceed 75% online sales growth in the United States. The original goal was a 30% annual bump.

Ahold said the strong quarter came despite significant costs incurred from COVID-19.

Ahold will increase click-and-collect locations at the end of the quarter from 707 to 765 and are aiming to have 1,100 locations available for the service by year-end. 

Among the U.S. brands, Food Lion grew the fastest and achieved its 31st consecutive quarter of positive, same-store sales. This growth will continue with the acquisition of 62 Southeastern Grocers to be converted to Food Lion stores. Stop & Shop stores were also highlighted in the report, outperforming expectations in the quarter, following a quarter where a strike from workers at the banner impacted the first quarter negatively. For the back half of 2020, Stop & Shop will be remodeling 20 stores.

Earlier in the week Ahold also announced that Giant Foo would be adding 95,000 square feet to its Jessup, Maryland, distribution warehouse, upping the footprint by 23% to account for demand in organics, fresh produce, meat and seafood, fresh cut floral, and seasonal products. The warehouse serves 163 Giant Food stores.

“The engagement and strong execution of our teams have translated this unprecedented demand in both the U.S. and Europe, due to COVID-19, into outstanding results. These developments, along with the benefit of comparing against the same quarter last year, when we saw a negative impact from the strike at the Stop & Shop brand in the U.S., have led to strong underlying operating margin performance in the quarter,” said Frans Muller, president and CEO of Ahold. 

“Our Q2 performance illustrates the challenge all companies are facing in predicting results in the highly uncertain environment created by COVID-19. Despite the high levels of market uncertainty, we are accelerating investments to support our increasing digital and omnichannel ambitions and raising our 2020 outlook due to our strong performance in the first half of the year,” he added.