Ahold reported a rise of EUR130 million (USD174.72 million) in operating income to EUR1.2 billion (USD1.61 billion) in 2008. Retail operating income amounted to EUR1.3 billion (USD1.52 billion). Net income declined by EUR1.9 billion (USD2.55 billion) to EUR1.1 billion (USD1.48 billion). Net sales rose 3.3% to EUR25.7 billion (USD34.54 billion). At constant exchange rates, net sales increased 6.9%.
In the US, net sales at the Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover division rose 2.4% to USD17.1 billion (including USD114 million of sales to Tops) for the year. Identical store sales were up 2.4% at Stop & Shop (2.1% excluding fuel) and down 0.4% at Giant-Landover (0.5% excluding fuel). Both divisions were negatively affected by lower pharmacy sales. Operating income rose USD39 million to USD701 million. Sales at Giant-Carlisle rose 10% to USD4.7 billion while identical store sales rose 6.3% (4.7% excluding fuel).
In the Netherlands, Albert Heijn reported that net sales rose 12.9% to EUR9 billion (USD12.09 billion) while identical store sale were up 9.2%. Operating income amounted to EUR648 million (USD870.93 million) (or 7.2% of sales). The Albert/Hypernova division reported a 13.9% rise in net sales (2.8% at constant exchange rates) to EUR1.8 billion (USD2.42 billion). Identical sales rose 3.2% and operating income totalled EUR1 million (USD1.34 million).
CEO John Rishton stated: “During 2008, we completed the Value Improvement Program, including the rebranding of Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover. This strengthened our relative price position and led to market share gains and improved financial results in the second half of the year. Although the economic environment continues to deteriorate, we believe that the business is well prepared to respond to the effects of recession. We have a strong balance sheet and we have repositioned our businesses over recent years to give better value to our customers. We continue to improve our offer and reduce costs. As a business, we have the skills and capabilities to respond quickly and effectively to changes in consumer behaviour. Despite the continued deterioration of the economic environment, in the first weeks of 2009 we have seen no significant changes in consumer behaviour.”
For its fourth quarter, retail operating income amounted to EUR392 million (USD526.86 million), representing a retail operating margin of 5.9%. Net income increased by EUR23 million (USD30.91 million) to EUR285 million (USD383.05). Net sales for the quarter rose 12.9% (5.9% at constant exchange rates) to EUR6.6 billion (USD8.87 billion).
In the US, Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover reported that net sales rose 2.8% to USD4 billion while identical store sales, excluding fuel, were up 4% at Stop & Shop and 1% at Giant-Landover in Q4. Giant-Carlisle reported a 10% increase in net sales to USD1.1 billion while ID sales, excluding fuel, were up 5.7%. In the Netherlands, Albert Heijn recorded an 11.6% rise in net sales to EUR 2.2 billion (USD2.96 billion), while ID sales rose 9.2%. Net sales at Albert/Hypernova rose 3% to EUR440 million (USD591.37 million) in Q4. At constant exchange rates, net sales declined 2.7%. ID sales were down 3.1% in Q4. CEO John Rishton stated: “In 2008, we delivered solid performance with particularly strong results in the last quarter and achieved an underlying retail operating margin of 5% for the full year. We have achieved our annual targets for each of the last three years thanks to the hard work and dedication of our employees.”