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Ahold Delhaize Q4 free cash flow €1.8 billion

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | February 12, 2020
Ahold Delhaize reported fourth quarter results today.
Ahold Delhaize
Ahold Delhaize   "We exceeded our full year 2019 guidance outlook"
Frans Muller, President and CEO of Ahold Delhaize, said: "We ended the year on a high note, with strong group performance in the fourth quarter."

Topics: Ahold Delhaize

"We exceeded our full ear 2019 guidance outlook for underlying earnings per share and met our free cash flow guidance.

"We posted 17.1% growth in underlying earnings per share from continuing operations in the fourth quarter, resulting in an increase of 8.4% for the full year, above our full year guidance of low single digit growth.

"We also generated €1.8 billion in free cash flow in 2019, achieving our guidance outlook, despite significantly stepping up capital investments in order to drive long term growth in our business.

"In the U.S., comparable sales growth excluding gasoline accelerated to 2.3% during the quarter, and was 2.6% excluding the net impact from a weather benefit last year.

"We were encouraged to see the two year stacked comparable sales growth, adjusted for weather, also accelerated to 5.0% in the fourth quarter versus 4.5% in the third quarter of 2019.

"Our online sales growth in the U.S. accelerated to 42.7% at constant exchange rates in the fourth quarter, and we met our 2019 guidance outlook of over 20% growth, building upon our position as the leading omnichannel operator on the East Coast.

"Performance at Food Lion and Hannaford was particularly strong.

"While Stop and Shop's comparable sales excluding gasoline improved over the last quarter, they remained slightly negative due to a challenging sales environment.

"That said, our ‘Re imagine Stop and Shop’ program continues to build momentum with sales in Long Island, and now Hartford, performing in line with our expectations.

"In 2020, we expect to remodel another 65 Stop and Shop stores across the brand’s footprint.

"In the Netherlands, we saw strong comparable sales growth of 4.3% during the quarter.

"Market share at Albert Heijn was up significantly year over year in the fourth quarter, an improving trend over previous quarters.

"Net consumer online sales for the segment were up 27.5%.

"At bol.com, our online retail platform in the Benelux, net consumer sales grew by 28.7%.

"In Belgium, comparable sales excluding calendar impacts were up modestly, and we gained market share during the quarter.

"Our Central and Southeastern Europe segment saw 3.6% comparable sales growth excluding gasoline."