Ahold Delhaize Unveils Q4 2023 Financial Performance, Presents 2024 Outlook

Ahold Delhaize, a prominent global food retail conglomerate renowned for its presence in both traditional supermarkets and e-commerce, announced its fourth-quarter results today. Frans Muller, President and CEO of Ahold Delhaize, commented on the performance:

Muller expressed satisfaction with Ahold Delhaize’s solid year-end performance, attributing it to the unwavering commitment of its local brands within the international portfolio. These brands diligently focused on enhancing customer value through personalized loyalty programs, expanding omnichannel offerings, and innovating in their own-brand product ranges. Muller emphasized the brands’ ability to deliver consistency amid a dynamic business landscape, benefiting customers, associates, and suppliers quarter after quarter.

Highlighting the importance of disciplined cost management, Muller stressed its significance in mitigating cost increases for customers, particularly amidst global conflicts impacting supply chains. In 2023, Ahold Delhaize surpassed its cost-saving targets, achieving over €1.25 billion in savings, a 29% increase from the previous year.

Beyond financial performance, Muller underscored the company’s broader responsibilities, including community engagement and fostering an environment for associates to thrive. In 2023, Ahold Delhaize brands contributed over €240 million to charitable causes, including food banks and non-profit organizations.

In Q4, the group witnessed a 1.9% increase in net sales and a 1.8% rise in comparable sales. The underlying operating margin stood at 4.3%, with diluted underlying EPS growth of 2.5%. However, one-off adjustments in the U.S. partially offset declines in European margin and insurance benefits at the Global Support Office. On an IFRS basis, operating income was €675 million, with diluted EPS at €0.47, though impacted negatively by the loss on the divestment of FreshDirect.

In the U.S., net sales decreased by 1.5%, attributed to moderated inflation and SNAP headwinds. Notably, Food Lion achieved 45 consecutive quarters of positive comparable sales growth. In Europe, net sales rose by 7.5%, with comparable store sales up 6.5%, driven by local everyday low-price programs and expanded own-brand offerings.

For 2023, diluted underlying EPS reached €2.54, a slight decrease from 2022, while free cash flow amounted to €2.4 billion. Ahold Delhaize reaffirmed its commitment to health and sustainability, achieving significant reductions in GHG emissions and food waste.

Looking ahead to 2024, the company anticipates a predominantly consistent performance with an underlying margin of at least 4%, EPS around 2023 levels, and free cash flow around €2.3 billion. Muller also teased the upcoming Strategy Day in May, where the company will outline opportunities to sustain momentum, including customer focus, brand strength, organizational simplification, and strategic capital deployment.

Source link