1. Channel: Grocery

Ahold Delhaize leverages advantages

ZAANDAM, Netherlands — Ahold Delhaize reported a 9.2% increase in net sales at its U.S. operations in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Comparable-store sales (excluding gasoline) were up 9.3% in the quarter at the company’s U.S. banners of Food Lion, Stop & Shop, the GIANT Co., Giant Food, Hannaford and FreshDirect.

Online sales in the United States increased 17.3% in constant currency, compared to the 30.5% increase in the year-earlier period.

Group net sales were €23.4 billion (nearly $25 billion), up 8.1% in the fourth quarter and up 6.9% for the full year at constant exchange rates.

“Our strong international portfolio of local brands has continued to provide distinct competitive and societal advantages, particularly from our scale and solid financial position,” Ahold Delhaize president and chief executive officer Frans Muller explained.

“In this challenging year, we have seen double-digit inflation levels not witnessed in 40 years, an energy crisis created by war and the ongoing effects of the global pandemic on people’s lives,” Muller said. “Our role during this time has been clear: keeping shelf prices as low as possible to support our customers and make healthy food options accessible to all.”

Muller said the company’s U.S. sales were buoyed by loyalty programs and an all-time high in online orders. “This has been a trend we have seen building throughout the year, as our consistent investment in growing these capabilities continues to pay off,” he said. “Our brands’ customer relationship management campaigns are a good example, now reaching around 30 million households and delivering over 10 billion personalized offers annually.”

Muller said Ahold Delhaize is also encouraged by the progress at recently remodeled Stop & Shop stores in New York City, which have delivered double-digit sales growth and exceeded expectations.

“We plan to remodel a further eight stores in NYC in the first quarter of 2023 and roll out key learnings to 40 other stores in the fleet throughout the year,” he said.

Muller said the Food Lion Feeds program achieved an important milestone in the quarter with its 1 billionth meal donated, and he added that the company is on track to reach its goal of 1.5 billion meals donated by 2025.

The company’s Hannaford banner launched its “Eat Well, Be Well – A Path to Better Health” initiative, which will provide $1.5 million in funding to nonprofit organizations for hosting programs that increase access to healthy, fresh food tailored to the specific health needs of an individual, and to provide nutrition education.

The company also donated emergency generators to the Ukrainian Red Cross, ensuring 95,000 Ukrainians continue to have access to clean water and heating.

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