Comp store sales in the U.S. rose 13.8%
The company reported first quarter net sales of €18.2 billion ($19.47 billion), up 14.7% over sales in the prior year period. (That increase is 12.7% at constant exchange rates.) Comp store sales growth was up 13.8% in the United States and 9.8% in Europe, when gasoline sales are excluded. Net consumer online sales grew 37.7% at constant exchange rates.
“Clearly, our Q1 sales performance across all geographies was impacted by the unprecedented demand and pressures created by the COVID-19 outbreak,” Ahold Delhaize president and CEO Frans Muller said in a statement. “We have responded by implementing additional safety and protective measures, enhancing associate pay and benefits, and making charitable donations to support local communities.”
The company’s operating income was €964 million, up 40.0% at constant exchange rates. Underlying operating margin was 5.3%, up 0.9% points from the prior year. Diluted underlying EPS was €0.59, up 49.5%; diluted EPS was €0.59
“The costs related to our efforts will more significantly impact subsequent quarters,” Muller said. “Nevertheless, we maintain our full-year outlook that our group underlying operating margin will be broadly in line with 2019.
“Protecting the health and safety of our associates and customers remains our first and foremost priority, along with operating our brands and supply chains smoothly. We will keep monitoring and learning from changes in consumer shopping patterns and behavior. While it is still too early to know which paradigm shifts will emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, we continue to prioritize investments in accelerating our digital and omnichannel capabilities, as well as improving our store fleet, in order to grow our share of wallet.”