Following pandemic-driven gross sales spikes a 12 months in the past, international meals retailer Ahold Delhaize upheld robust U.S. e-commerce development and eked out a comparable-sales acquire within the fiscal 2021 first quarter.
For the quarter ended April 4, internet gross sales at Ahold Delhaize USA rose 3.6% to $12.93 billion from $12.48 billion a 12 months earlier, Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize reported on Wednesday.
U.S. comparable-store gross sales inched up 1.5% total and 1.7% excluding gasoline. The corporate stated comp gross sales received a elevate from COVID-19-related demand, specifically in January and February, and replicate a 1.7 share level uptick from the influence of calendar shifts and inclement climate.
First-quarter outcomes had been partially offset by the biking of shopper stockpiling purchases firstly of the pandemic throughout the 2020 quarter, when Ahold Delhaize USA posted development of 13.7% in internet gross sales and 13.8% in comp-sales excluding gasoline, with the latter together with a 33.8% surge in March.
“Though COVID-19 continues to influence our outcomes positively, we’ve now entered a interval the place our year-over-year development charges are affected by the lapping of inauspicious prior-year comparisons. That stated, we started 2021 in a strategically a lot stronger place than earlier than COVID-19 pandemic started,” Ahold Delhaize President and CEO Frans Muller advised analysts in a convention name on Wednesday.
“General, we’re more than happy with the underlying first-quarter efficiency in each the U.S. and Europe,” he stated. “Our two-year comparable-sales stack sequentially accelerated within the first quarter of 2021 versus This autumn 2020, in each the U.S. and Europe, as we’ve been in a position to retain a powerful stage of underlying shopper demand and persevering with to adapt to the enduring shopper conduct adjustments. These behaviors embrace elevated working from house, desire for wholesome and contemporary merchandise and, in fact, larger on-line demand.”
The 2-year comp-sales stack for Ahold Delhaize USA — together with the Cease & Store, Large Meals, Large/Martin’s, Meals Lion and Hannaford grocery store chains — confirmed development of 15.5% for the 2021 first quarter, constructing on a 13.5% rise within the 2020 fourth quarter.
“We now have held onto the excessive ranges of shopper demand, at the same time as we started to lap the COVID-19 impacts from final 12 months. You’ll be able to see right here why that was the case, as comp-sales developments on a two-year stack foundation had been robust and higher than pre-COVID ranges. There was even an acceleration in momentum as we moved from This autumn into Q1,” Ahold Delhaize Chief Monetary Officer Natalie Knight stated within the name. “So we’ve good momentum, clearly demonstrating that our manufacturers are persevering with to execute very nicely on this fluid surroundings.”
Among the many U.S. retail grocery manufacturers, Meals Lion led in first-quarter efficiency, with Cease & Store’s upgraded places additionally handing over a powerful displaying, based on Muller.
“The Cease & Store transformed shops proceed to offer a gross sales uplift, and we count on to speed up the variety of remodels in 2021 to roughly 60 shops,” he stated. “Meals Lion achieved its thirty fourth consecutive quarter of constructive comparable-sales development and has efficiently added and opened all 62 of the Southeastern Grocers shops which we acquired in April. Additionally in April, we secured and opened 9 extra places that had been beforehand closed by Southeastern Grocers.”
Even excluding the FreshDirect acquisition, Ahold Delhaize USA’s e-commerce gross sales grew over 135% within the quarter.
E-commerce gross sales for Ahold Delhaize USA remained strong within the 2021 first quarter, up 188.3% (fixed foreign money) to $1.03 billion from $357 million a 12 months earlier, boosted partly by the acquisition of on-line grocer FreshDirect. The U.S. on-line gross sales acquire topped development of 42.3% and 128.5%, respectively, within the 2020 first and fourth quarters.
“Within the U.S., we delivered accelerating ranges of on-line development of almost 190%. Even excluding gross sales from FreshDirect, which we acquired in January, development accelerated to 135%, and FreshDirect is progressing as deliberate,” Muller stated. “We’re in a superb place to proceed capitalizing on the excessive on-line demand, with our U.S. family protection now 95% by means of house supply and click-and-collect. We now have family protection of 94% for same-day choices as nicely. And these are vital enhancements in protection over the prior 12 months.”
Greater than half of U.S. on-line gross sales are from pickup service, Muller famous. “We’re very proud with the progress made within the U.S. Ninety-four % same-day availability is a giant, huge step ahead in comparison with the final quarter and the final 12 months. We see that click-and-collect is rising sooner than supply, though our supply enterprise continues to be rising at a really excessive fee,” he advised analysts. “And click on-and-collect development means extra worthwhile development ultimately. It’s a extra worthwhile success mannequin, in fact, than the somewhat costly last-mile supply. We see within the complete market extra of a pattern in the direction of same-day — and, sooner or later, additionally extra on the spot — in comparison with next-day providers.”
Globally, Ahold Delhaize recorded 2021 first-quarter gross sales of €18.26 billion ($15.17 billion), inching up 0.3% (5.8% at fixed alternate charges) from €18.21 billion ($16.51 billion) a 12 months in the past. Comp-sales grew 4.2% 12 months over 12 months excluding gasoline and had been up 16.4% on a two-year stack versus 13.7% within the 2020 fourth quarter.
Companywide, internet shopper on-line gross sales climbed by 99.2% (103.3% at fixed alternate charges) to about €2.68 billion ($2.23 billion).
Internet revenue (persevering with operations) within the quarter was €550 million ($456.9 million), or €0.53 (44 cents) per diluted share, down from €645 million ($584.7 million), or €0.59 (53 cents) per diluted share, a 12 months earlier.
“In 2021, we’re persevering with to extend our on-line capability,” Muller stated within the analyst name. “A number of examples are the opening of extra U.S. click-and-collect places and the brand new home-delivery success heart at Albert Heijn. We’re transferring ahead with the launch of Ship2Me within the U.S. — our limitless aisle providing of greater than 100,000 basic merchandise and meals gadgets — within the second half of this 12 months. We’re increasing our no-fee house supply service of our Albert Heijn Compact to extra markets within the Netherlands and are providing two-hour or much less supply in additional cities in Greece and Romania.”
This 12 months, Ahold Delhaize forecasts internet shopper on-line gross sales development of greater than 40% companywide, up from its earlier estimate of 30%, and over 70% within the U.S. versus the prior projection of 60%.
“Enhancing omnichannel productiveness additionally stays a excessive precedence,” Muller added, “and we try to enhance on-line productiveness by 20% this 12 months by means of an end-to-end enchancment of processes, methods, working practices and innovation.”
As of the shut of the 2021 first quarter, Ahold Delhaize had 7,204 shops within the U.S., the Netherlands, Belgium and Central and Southeastern Europe, in contrast with 7,002 a 12 months in the past, reflecting a internet acquire of 202. Ahold Delhaize USA ended the quarter with 2,028 shops, a internet enhance of 57 from 1,971 within the prior-year interval, together with 62 opened or acquired shops and 5 closed or bought shops.