Ahold Delhaize's Q1 results "significantly impacted" by Covid-19
Dutch international supermarket chain Ahold Delhaize has reported substantially higher sales and income in the first financial quarter of 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Net sales were up 12.7% at €18.2bn, while net consumer online sales grew 37.7%. Operating income was €964m, up 40%.
Frans Muller, president and CEO of Ahold Delhaize, said that sales performance across all geographies was "clearly" impacted by the unprecedented demand and pressures created by the Covid-19 outbreak.
"We have responded by implementing additional safety and protective measures, enhancing associate pay and benefits, and making charitable donations to support local communities," he said.
"The costs related to our efforts will more significantly impact subsequent quarters. Nevertheless, we maintain our full-year outlook that our group underlying operating margin will be broadly in line with 2019."
He said that while it is still too early to know which paradigm shifts will emerge from the crisis, the company continues to prioritize investments in accelerating its digital and omnichannel capabilities, as well as improving its store fleet, in order to grow our share of wallet.
The company noted that in the U.S. and Europe, comparative sales growth excluding gas was up 13.8% and 9.8%, respectively.
The sales spike was more pronounced in the U.S. than in Europe as the latter experienced earlier customer stockpiling in late February, and therefore saw earlier investments related to Covid-19, while the U.S. experienced later stockpiling in March.