Netherlands-based retailer Ahold Delhaize has reported on a positive set of results for the first quarter of 2019, with year-on-year improvements in sales and net income.
Net sales for the quarter came in at €15.9bn, up 1.5 per cent at constant exchange rates, adversely impacted by Easter timing, while net income was €435m, up 2.4 per cent at constant exchange rates.
The retailer reported on a good performance in the US, with results not yet impacted by Stop & Shop strikes, and a solid performance in the Netherlands, with bol.com net consumer sales up 35.2 per cent.
"The execution of our Leading Together strategy is on track as our results are starting to illustrate," said Frans Muller, president and CEO of Ahold Delhaize. "During the quarter, we also launched our new purpose: eat well, save time, live better. These are the guiding principles in everything we do as we execute on our strategy. Throughout our businesses we help our customers make healthier choices. Innovative solutions, both in-store and online, make shopping more convenient and less time-consuming. And to enable our customers to live better, we continue to support the local communities they live in.
"As announced on 23 April, we have adjusted our full-year outlook to reflect the one-off impact of the strikes at Stop & Shop," Muller added. "We now anticipate underlying operating margin for the group for 2019 to be slightly lower than 2018. Additionally, the percentage growth of underlying earnings per share in 2019 is revised from high single digits to low single digits. At the same time, we reiterate our expectation for 2019 free cash flow of around €1.8bn, with capital expenditure of €2bn."