U.S.: Albertsons shows new sales momentum in Q2

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U.S.: Albertsons shows new sales momentum in Q2

As Albertsons Cos. and its new CEO finalize a comprehensive strategy, quarterly financial results released this week indicate there’s new operating and financial momentum to the business, Winsight Grocery Business reports.

Idaho-based Albertsons said identical-store sales in the fiscal second quarter were their highest in three years. They came behind improving store operations and loyalty, private brand penetration and e-commerce.

These four areas are key growth drivers underlying the developing strategy, president and CEO Vivek Sankaran said. They accompanied improved financial performance that also saw sales, margins and earnings improve for the quarter.

For the period, which ended Sept. 7, Albertsons saw sales improve by 1.1% to US$14.2bn, with identical-store sales climbing by 2.4%. The comp figure marked Albertsons’ seventh straight quarter of positive comps and its best single quarter in three years.

Net income of US$294.8m swung from a US$32.4m loss in last year’s second quarter. This came in part thanks to decreased expenses as a percentage of sales and better margins.

Excluding the effect of higher fuel margins, gross margins increased by 30 basis points. This reflected improved shrink expense and increased private brand penetration.

Private brand penetration increased to 25.3% of sales, officials said, while digital sales, helped along by an increase in the retailer’s Drive Up & Go and delivery availability, increased by 40%.

Sankaran, who joined Albertsons earlier this year from PepsiCo, said he was still at work on a comprehensive strategic review but outlined what he called four key growth drivers that strategy will be built around.

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