Ahold Delhaize profits up 15% in second quarter

The Hague (AFP) –


Dutch-Belgian giant food retailer Ahold Delhaize said Wednesday that it rang up a "solid" performance in the second quarter, with bottom-line profits rising 15 percent.

Ahold Delhaize, which describes itself as one of the world's largest food retail groups, said in a statement it booked "a solid second quarter with increased sales and margins, unfavorably impacted by the timing of Easter."

Chief executive Frans Muller said "our business continued to perform well and we remain on track with the execution of our strategy."

Net profit was up 15.3 percent from a year earlier at 410 million euros ($476 million) in the period April to June, while sales fell 3.7 percent to 15.5 billion euros.

Adjusted for exchange rate fluctuations, the negative impact of the Easter holiday and stores that had been sold off, sales grew 2.4 percent, Ahold Delhaize said.

Online sales rose 23 percent, "keeping us on pace to realize nearly five billion euros in online consumer sales by 2020."

Ahold and Delhaize merged in July 2016.

Between them, the two companies have 6,500 stores in Europe and the United States, including chains such as Giant and Food Lion, and employ 370,000 people.

Analysts say the merger created the fifth-largest grocery chain in the fiercely-contested US market and the fourth-largest in Europe.