ONLINE SALES IN EUROPE & THE US DRIVE BUSINESS AT AHOLD DELHAIZE

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Netherlands-based supermarket chain Ahold Delhaize has reported better than expected fourth quarter sales, driven by a surge of online orders due to COVID-19.

The retailer, which operates chains in the United States and Europe, said its sales rose 18% to €19.6 billion. Underlying operating income in the period was €811m; net consumer online sales jumped 84% to €2.6bn, with increases of 129% in the United States and 73% in Europe.

Natalie Knight, Ahold Delhaize’s Chief Financial Officer, expects online sales growth to continue to outpace traditional sales growth this year.

She said: “We definitely believe we are going to continue to see very strong online growth in sales going forward. We are projecting a further growth of 30% in 2021, that includes 60% in the US.”

Meanwhile, Ahold Delhaize has agreed to buy 39 stores from the Deen chain in the Netherlands, as part of a larger deal to buy and dissolve Deen.

In a joint statement, Ahold said Deen was selling all its 80 stores.

Ahold will convert 39 of them to its Albert Heijn brand. Competitors Vomar will buy and convert 22 and DekaMarkt will buy and convert 19.

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