Analyst Note| Ioannis Pontikis, CFA |
Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize released first-quarter results with sales up 5.8% (at constant currency) to EUR 18.3 billion, ahead of company-compiled consensus expectations of EUR 17.4 billion. Comparable sales growth was up 1.7% and 8.3% for the United States and Europe, respectively, versus down 1.4% and up 1.1% for consensus. Online sales growth across regions continued to be strong (up 188.3% and 103.3% in the U.S. and Europe, respectively), reflecting the group's resilience and solid presence in online as well as the long-lasting COVID-19 impact on consumer behavior. The underlying operating margin for the group was 4.6%, down 60 basis points versus last year, a function of tough 2020 comparables due to robust sales growth and operating leverage benefits that preceded significant investments related to the coronavirus to enhance pay and benefits, as well as extra costs associated with safety measures in stores.