Fourth quarter sales in the United States — where the retailer does about two-thirds of its business — increased 1.5% (excluding gasoline) as its share of the U.S. market remained basically unchanged from a year earlier.
Its Food Lion and Hannaford banners each posted positive comparable-store sales in the quarter, the company said. Ahold Delhaize also operates U.S. stores under the Stop & Shop, Giant/Martin’s and Giant Foods banners and owns the Peapod grocery delivery business.
Food Lion continued to benefit from the rollout of the “Easy, Fresh and Affordable” campaign across its 1,000 supermarkets in 10 southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, the company said. Stores are being remodeled and prices lowered as the company places renewed focus on customer service. Ahold Delhaize was expecting to relaunch more than 70 updated Food Lions in the Richmond, Va., market in the fourth quarter.
The company saw price inflation of 0.7% at its U.S. operations in the fourth quarter, which officials said was broadly similar to the previous quarter.
“Overall, the business delivered a solid performance in the fourth quarter, resulting in a net sales growth of 2.5% on a pro forma basis, at constant exchange rates,” the company said in a statement. “For the full-year 2017, pro forma net sales reached 62.7 billion euros ($76 billion), up 1.7% at constant exchange rates.”