Albertsons Cos. posts third quarter sales and earnings gains

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BOISE, Idaho — Albertsons Cos. reported increased sales and earnings for its fiscal 2021 third quarter, which ended December 4.

Identical sales increased 5.2%; on a two-year stacked basis identical sales growth was 17.5%. Digital sales increased 9%, and the gain on a two-year stacked basis was 234%. Net income was $424.5 million, or 74 cents per Class A common share, compared to $123.7 million, or 20 cents per Class A common share, during the third quarter of fiscal 2020.

“We are pleased with our third quarter results as we continue to execute against our transformation strategy,” Albertsons Cos. chief executive officer Vivek Sankaran said. “A favorable economic backdrop together with the heroic performance of our frontline retail, distribution and manufacturing teams contributed to these better-than-expected results. Also driving these results was our continued focus on in-store excellence, acceleration of our digital and omnichannel capabilities, and delivery of our productivity initiatives. During the quarter, we continued to gain market share in both units and dollars and saw ongoing improvement in both the in-store and online customer experience.”

Net sales and other revenue was $16.7 billion during the 12 weeks, compared to $15.4 billion during the prior-year period. The increase was driven by the company’s 5.2% gain in identical sales, as well as higher fuel sales and sales related to stores acquired and opened since the third quarter of fiscal 2020. Retail price inflation and incremental sales related to administering COVID-19 vaccines contributed to the 5.2% identical sales increase.

Albertsons Cos. has raised its profit forecast for the fiscal year, and now expects adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) in the range of $4.25 billion to $4.30 billion (previously $3.95 billion to $4.05 billion), and adjusted net income per Class A common share in the range of $2.90 to $2.95 per share (previously $2.50 to $2.60 per share).

The company now projects that identical sales in fiscal 2021 will decline by 0.8% to 1.2%, an improvement over the previous projection of a decline of from 2.5% to 3.5%. Two-year stacked growth is now expected to be from 15.7% to 16.1%, up from the previous forecast of a 13.4% to 14.4% gain.

“Our stores continue to be the foundation of our business and now allow us to serve our customers, both in-store and online,” Sankaran remarked during a conference call with analysts. “Our excellent locations near where people live provide us with a competitive advantage. A new technology is allowing us to take the customer experience to new levels.

“Our digital initiatives continue to drive engagement and growth, and we remain focused on elevating service quality, speed of delivery and the value of our loyalty offerings. We continue to gain market share in units and dollars and did so in both food and MULO (multichannel outlets) this quarter.

“Our productivity initiatives are delivering, and there is more to come to help offset inflation and fund our growth. And finally, we are navigating challenges like inflation, product supply and labor shortages with agility and creativity.”



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