Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Companies reported a same store sales increase of 1.1% and profit increases during the fourth quarter, attributing much of that growth to its Own Brands program.
Gross profit margin increased to 29 percent during the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to 28.1 percent during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. The company said its gross profit margin increase was primarily attributable to improved shrink expense as a percentage of sales, which improved 40 basis points compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, and improved product mix, including increased Own Brands penetration. Its Own Brands sales penetration was strong in the fourth quarter, at 25.2 percent.
"We are very pleased with the trends in our business as demonstrated by our strong results in the fourth quarter and full year," said Jim Donald, President and Chief Executive Officer. "This performance in our core four-wall business is helping fund necessary investments into the business in both the four-wall and no-wall environments. We continue to deliver the balance sheet with a total net debt to Adjusted EBITDA ratio of 3.5x at the end of fiscal 2018, and have a clear path for further reduction."
Albertsons said it had e-commerce sales growth of 52 percent and 83 percent during the fourth quarter and full year, respectively.
Albertsons currently offers approximately 1,400 private label products in its Own Brands program. Albertsons Cos. operates stores in 35 states under 20 banners, including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs. It also owns meal-kit company Plated.