Ahold has released its third quarter (Q3) results for the 12 week period ended 5th October 2014.

Highlights

The retailer accelerated the rollout of its customer improvement program in the USA which has now been implemented in 501 stores.

In the Netherlands the retailer introduced format improvements for both Albert Heijn online and bol.com reported strong double-digit growth.

  • Ahold is also undergoing a program to remodel its ‘Albert Heijn to go’ convenience store format.

During the quarter Ahold converted all 14 supermarkets it acquired from SPAR last year to its Albert Heijn format.

  • Last year’s acquisition consisted of 49 stores out of which 14 were supermarkets and 36 were hypermarkets.

 Sales Performance

Ahold Group

Q3 2014 sales increased 1.9% year-over-year (y-o-y) to EUR7.47 million; up 1.5% at constant exchange rates.

  • Online sales increased 8.1% to EUR281 million; up 7.7% at constant exchange rates.
  • Store sales and other sales increased 1.7% to EUR7.19 million, up 1.2% at constant exchange rates.

YTD 2014 sales decreased 1.7% y-o-y to EUR24.71 million, up 0.2% at constant exchange rates.

  • Online sales increased 17.4% to EUR916 million; up 18.7% at constant exchange rates.
  • Store sales and other sales decreased 2.3% to EUR23.79 million, down 0.4% at constant exchange rates.

Ahold USA

Q3 2014 sales increased 1.6% to EUR4.50 million (USD5.92 million).

Q3 2014 comparable sales (comps) excluding gasoline were up 1.3% y-o-y, while identical sales (ID sales), including and excluding gasoline, increased 0.7% and 1.2%, respectively.

YTD 2014 sales decreased 3.2% to EUR14.76 million (USD19.99 million).

YTD 2014 comps were down 0.1% y-o-y, while ID sales, including and excluding gasoline, decreased 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively.

Ahold Netherlands

Q3 2014 sales increased 1.4% y-o-y to EUR2.60. Comps excluding VAT and tobacco sales decreased 0.8%; ID sales decreased 1.1%.

YTD 2014 sales increased 0.9% y-o-y to EUR8.85 million. Comps excluding VAT and tobacco sales decreased 1.2%; ID sales decreased 1.4%.

Czech Republic

Q3 2014 sales increased 10.5% y-o-y to EUR367 (CZK 10.15 million), up 18.7% at constant exchange rates.

Comps excluding gasoline decreased 2%, while ID sales including and excluding gasoline decreased 3.2% and 2%, respectively.

YTD 2014 sales decreased 1.7% y-o-y to EUR1.08 million (CZK 29,931 million), up 5.1% at constant exchange rates.

Comps excluding gasoline decreased 1.2%, while ID sales including and excluding gasoline decreased 2% and 1.3%, respectively.

Profits and Margins

Ahold Group Q3 2014 operating income increased 9.2% y-o-y to EUR274 million; underlying operating margin was 3.8% compared to 4.1% in the same period last year.

YTD 2014 operating income decreased 1.5% y-o-y to EUR914 million; underlying operating margin reported at 3.9% from 4.2% last year.

Stores

At the end of the period the retailer operated 3,181 stores, out of which 767 were in the USA, 2,082 in the Netherlands and 332 in the Czech Republic.

Guidance

The retailer expects USA and Netherlands margins to remain stable supported by its Simplicity Program.

In the Czech Republic the retailer expects negative impact of EUR10 million on its underlying operating income for the second half (H2) of 2014.

Cash flow for the year is expected to be around EUR800 million.