Frans Muller Ahold Delhaize

Frans Muller

Retailer Ahold Delhaize has reported on its results for the second quarter (Q2), with net sales up 15.9 per cent at constant exchange rates to €19.1bn.

In the US and Europe, comparative sales growth excluding gas was up 20.6 per cent and 10.2 per cent respectively, while group online sales soared 77.6 per cent to €1.8bn.

Operating income was just over €1bn, increasing 78 per cent at constant exchange rates.

These increases were recorded despite the ongoing impact of Covid-19 – indeed, coronavirus-related costs were approximately €330m in the first half of the year, and approximately €260m in Q2, including safety measures and enhanced associate pay.

'Covid-19 has presented adversity across society and business,' said Frans Muller, president and chief executive of Ahold Delhaize. 'It has impacted our communities, associates, customers, and their families.

'The engagement and strong execution of our teams have translated this unprecedented demand in both the US and Europe, due to Covid-19, into outstanding results,' he continued. '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 US, have led to strong underlying operating margin performance in the quarter.'

Muller said that the retailer's second quarter performance illustrated the challenge all companies were 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 noted. 'We now expect that our group underlying operating margin will be higher than in 2019, with underlying EPS growth in the low-to-mid-20 per cent range.'