EUROPE: Ahold, Jerónimo Martins Have Strong Q1

Ahold and Jerónimo Martins have reported strong growth for their respective fiscal first quarters, helped by momentum in all their markets.

Ahold saw its first-quarter sales grow by 4.3% to €11.8bn (+3.5% on a constant-currency basis), with underlying operating profit up 15.1% to €449m (+14.7% constant-currency), with net profit was up 13.1% to €241m.

The Dutch group said its results were helped by its ‘Simplicity’ programme and continued cost-control.  Sales in the US were up 4% to €7.3bn, with like-for-like sales (excl. fuel) up 0.8%, despite being affected by fewer winter storms.  Sales in The Netherlands rose by 4.9% to 3.9bn, with LFL growth of 2.9%, while the Czech Republic operations recorded a 2.5% increase to €528m, on LFL growth of 1.1%.  Online sales continued to be strong, jumping up 27.4% on a constant-currency basis.

Meanwhile, Jerónimo Martins reported better-than-expected net profit growth of 19% to €77.3m for its first quarter, operating profit grew by 18.5% to €110m, and sales were up 5.9% to €3.38bn (+9.3% constant-currency basis).

At the Biedronka discount banner in Poland, sales were up 5.1% to €2.3bn (+9.3% constant-currency), while LFL sales grew by 7.6%.  The results were helped by “strong promotional dynamics”, a revised offer, and continued expansion.  At Pingo Doce in Portugal, sales were up 5.8% to €817m, on LFL growth of 2.1%, helped by increased volumes and new store additions. Meanwhile, Recheio saw its sales grow by 4.3% to €188m, on LFL growth of 3.8%.