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    Ahold Q4 Shows Sales Gains

    Helped by improved financials at its U.S. banners, Ahold yesterday reported net sales of 6.8 billion euros (US $9.6 billion) for its fourth quarter ending Jan. 3.

    Helped by improved financials at its U.S. banners, Ahold yesterday reported net sales of 6.8 billion euros (US $9.6 billion) for its fourth quarter ending Jan. 3. Net sales at the Amsterdam-based retail conglomerate grew 3.4 percent (11.0 percent at constant exchange rates) vs. the fourth quarter of 2008. For the full year, net sales were 27.9 billion euros (US $39.3 billion), 8.9 percent higher than in 2008. At constant exchange rates, net sales for the full year increased 6.0 percent.

    Consolidated net sales in the fourth quarter and the full year of 2009 were positively affected by an extra week compared with the previous year, according to Ahold. Fourth-quarter net sales increased 2.1 percent at constant exchange rates on an adjusted basis, and net sales for the full year rose 3.9 percent at constant exchange rates on an adjusted basis.

    “Ahold delivered strong volume growth in all markets in the fourth quarter,” the company noted. “Sales were impacted by deflation and trading down by customers, while increased promotional activity continued.”

    At Giant-Landover/Stop & Shop, fourth-quarter net sales increased 10.5 percent (1.8 percent when compared with the adjusted fourth-quarter 2008 sales) to $4.4 billion. Identical sales grew 1.0 percent at Stop & Shop (fell 0.4 percent excluding gasoline) and rose 2.4 percent at Giant-Landover (1.6 percent excluding gas). Comparable sales went up 1.3 percent at Stop & Shop and 2.9 percent at Giant-Landover, respectively.

    For the full year, net sales rose 4.6 percent (2.6 percent when compared with the adjusted full-year 2008 sales) to $17.9 billion. Identical sales increased 1.6 percent at Stop & Shop (2.2 percent excluding gas) and 3.0 percent at Giant-Landover (2.6 percent excluding gas). Comps grew 2.1 percent at Stop & Shop and 3.5 percent at Giant-Landover.

    Fourth-quarter net sales at Giant-Carlisle shot up 15.0 percent (6.0 percent when compared with the adjusted fourth quarter 2008 sales) to $ 1.3 billion, while identical sales rose 2.8 percent (1.0 percent excluding gasoline) and comps went up 4.0 percent.

    Giant-Carlisle’s full-year net sales increased 4.6 percent (2.6 percent when compared with the adjusted full-year 2008 sales) to $5.0 billion. Identical sales edged up 0.3 percent (2.2 percent excluding gasoline), and comps were up 1.3 percent.

    The additional week in Ahold’s fiscal 2009 was a result from the company’s use of a 364-day calendar (13 four-week periods per year), which requires an extra week in certain years in order to align its year end as closely as possible to the calendar year. Going forward, Ahold said it would discontinue its quarterly trading statements and just issue an annual trading statement after its fourth quarter.

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