Ahold Delhaize creates Ahold Delhaize USA as the parent company for all of its U.S. companies

Ahold Delhaize creates Ahold Delhaize USA as the parent company for all of its U.S. companies

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2017-Dec-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold Delhaize today announced the creation of Ahold Delhaize USA, to be effective on January 1, 2018. Ahold Delhaize USA will be the parent company for all of Ahold Delhaize’s U.S. companies, including its local brands, Stop & Shop, Food Lion, Giant, Hannaford, Giant/Martin’s, and Peapod, as well as Retail Business Services (RBS), a U.S. shared services company providing support to the brands.

Ahold Delhaize USA will be led by Kevin Holt, who will be appointed Chief Executive Officer Ahold Delhaize USA, effective January 1, 2018. Kevin is currently Chief Operating Officer of Ahold USA. In this new role he will remain a member of Ahold Delhaize’s Management Board and Executive Committee and will continue to report to Dick Boer, CEO Ahold Delhaize. Frans Muller, Deputy CEO Ahold Delhaize and Chief Integration Officer, who serves as acting COO Delhaize America (ad interim) will focus on the continued smooth integration of Ahold Delhaize.

Dick Boer, CEO Ahold Delhaize, said, “combining the parent companies of the U.S. brands and RBS is the natural next step in our brand-centric strategy in the U.S.  Kevin is an outstanding leader with extensive food retail experience and a great choice to guide our U.S. businesses through this time of continuing change and evolving customer expectations.”

Kevin joined Delhaize Group in 2014 as CEO Delhaize America and transitioned to Chief Operating Officer of Ahold USA in 2017. Prior to joining Ahold Delhaize, he served in executive leadership roles at SUPERVALU and Meijer.

“I’m excited that we are moving into this next phase where we can focus on further strengthening our brands and winning in our markets,” said Kevin. “Ahold Delhaize USA and its U.S. brands are well positioned to continue to drive growth and innovation and meet the evolving needs of customers, both in stores and online.”


Cautionary notice
This communication includes forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical facts may be forward-looking statements. Words such as to be, will, guide, focus on, well positioned, continue, drive and meet or other similar words or expressions are typically used to identify forward-looking statements.

Forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that are difficult to predict and that may cause actual results of Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize N.V. (the “Company”) to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to the risk factors set forth in the Company’s public filings and other disclosures. Forward-looking statements reflect the current views of the Company’s management and assumptions based on information currently available to the Company’s management. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made and the Company does not assume any obligation to update such statements, except as required by law.

SOURCE: Ahold Delhaize

MEDIA CONTACT

Ellen van Ginkel
Director External Communications
media.relations@aholddelhaize.com
+31 88 6595134

Ahold Delhaize announces the departure of its Chief eCommerce and Innovation Officer Hanneke Faber

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2017-Oct-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold Delhaize announces today that Hanneke Faber, Chief eCommerce and Innovation Officer, has decided to leave the company at the end of December to pursue another career opportunity. A search for her successor is underway.

Dick Boer, CEO Ahold Delhaize: “I want to thank Hanneke for her valuable contribution to Ahold Delhaize and her energy and inspiration in defining and executing our digital and omni-channel growth strategy since 2013. She leaves us well on track to deliver close to €3 billion of online consumer sales in 2017, and nearly €5 billion by 2020. While I am sorry to see her leave, I wish her all the best in her future career as well as her personal life.”

“In the past years we have made good progress in making the local customer experience seamless anywhere, anytime across our brands by combining thriving networks of brick-and-mortar stores and strong online businesses.”

Our eCommerce operations in the Netherlands and Belgium as well as in the United States have increasingly become an integral part of the business. Reflecting this, since February 2017, the Brand President of Peapod is reporting to Ahold USA Chief Operating Officer Kevin Holt. As of January 1, 2018, the Brand President of bol.com will report to Wouter Kolk in his capacity as Chief Operating Officer Netherlands and Belgium. This will allow Ahold Delhaize to further leverage the successes and best practices of both bol.com, the number one online retail platform in the Netherlands and Belgium, and ah.nl, the number one online food retailer.

Hanneke’s successor will take on a new role of Chief Digital Officer and will be responsible to drive digital transformation and innovation, including loyalty data analytics and personalization, key elements of the Better Together strategy.  Also we will continue to coordinate best practice sharing in eCommerce across the brands to benefit from our global scale.

 

Cautionary notice

This communication includes forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical facts may be forward-looking statements. Words such as on track, further leverage, will, new, drive, strategy, continue or other similar words or expressions are typically used to identify forward-looking statements.

Forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that are difficult to predict and that may cause actual results of Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize N.V. (the “Company”) to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to the risk factors set forth in the Company’s public filings and other disclosures. Forward-looking statements reflect the current views of the Company’s management and assumptions based on information currently available to the Company’s management. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made and the Company does not assume any obligation to update such statements, except as required by law. Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize N.V. also presents itself under the name of “Royal Ahold Delhaize” or simply “Ahold Delhaize.”

SOURCE: Ahold Delhaize

MEDIA CONTACT

Ellen van Ginkel
Director External Communications
media.relations@aholddelhaize.com
+31 88 6595134

Ahold Delhaize announces solid first quarter results for 2017

  • Net sales increased by 65.1% to €15.9 billion (up 61.4% at constant exchange rates)
  • Net income increased by 72.8% to €356 million (up 68.2% at constant exchange rates)
  • Pro forma Q1 net sales increased by 2.9% to €15.8 billion (up 0.6% at constant exchange rates)
  • Pro forma underlying operating income increased by €45 million to €604 million, up 8.1% Pro forma Q1 underlying operating margin increased to 3.8%, compared to 3.6% in Q1 2016
  • Strong free cash flow of €197 million, with increased capital expenditure compared to Q1 2016
  • Integration on track, with net synergies of €56 million delivered in the first quarter

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2017-May-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold Delhaize, a leader in supermarkets and eCommerce with market-leading local brands in 11 countries, published solid first quarter results for 2017 today (May 10, 2017), including an improved pro forma underlying operating margin for the Group.

Dick Boer, CEO of Ahold Delhaize, said: “We are pleased to report a resilient first quarter performance with an increase in margins for the Group despite the ongoing deflationary environment in the United States. We continue to make significant progress on the implementation of our Better Together strategy,  investing in our customer proposition, while improving margins.

“Ten months after the merger of Ahold and Delhaize, we are fully on track with the integration and we are delivering on our synergy targets. We are driving forward our integration programs and continue to focus on sharing best practices across and within regions, as we aim to further strengthen our great local brands to ensure they remain customer-focused, close to their communities and positioned to win in their markets.

“In the United States, although sales were impacted by continuing price deflation, adverse weather and the timing of Easter, we were able to offset the impact on margins due to the delivery of strong synergy savings in the quarter. Although deflationary pressure was in line with previous quarters, it improved towards the end of the first quarter and we expect sales performance to improve in the second quarter and to operate in a slightly inflationary environment in the second half of the year.

“The Netherlands again reported strong performance. Albert Heijn continued to improve and renew its product range, both in supermarkets and online. Bol.com grew its share of Plaza sales, now offering more than 15 million products, and increased its customer base in Belgium.

“In Belgium, sales performance was stable compared to the previous quarter, and underlying operating margin was broadly in line with last year. Sales growth in Central and Southeastern Europe was driven by Romania and Serbia, with stable margins for the region, supported by margin improvements in the Czech Republic and Serbia.

“We are encouraged by the positive development of the combined free cash flow for the Group despite higher capital expenditure. This allows us to continue investing in key channels and businesses, while returning excess liquidity to our shareholders.

“For the full year, we reiterate our target of realizing €220 million net synergies, including €56 million realized year to date and expect that the full year 2017 underlying operating margin for the Group will increase compared to 2016.”

Cautionary notice

This press release contains information that qualifies as inside information within the meaning of Article 7(1) of the EU Market Abuse Regulation.

This communication includes forward-looking statements.  All statements other than statements of historical facts may be forward-looking statements. Words such as resilient, investing, strategy, improving, on track, continue to focus, aim to further strengthen, ensure, remain customer-focused, expect, target, committed, ongoing, progressing according to plan, enable, to be remodelled or other similar words or expressions are typically used to identify forward-looking statements.

Forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that are difficult to predict and that may cause actual results of Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize N.V. (the “Company”) to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to risks relating to competition and pressure on profit margins in the food retail industry; the impact of the Company’s outstanding financial debt; future changes in accounting standards; the Company’s ability to generate positive cash flows; general economic conditions; the Company’s international operations; the impact of economic conditions on consumer spending; turbulences in the global credit markets and the economy; the significance of the Company’s U.S. operations and the concentration of its U.S. operations on the east coast of the U.S.; increases in interest rates and the impact of downgrades in the Company’s credit ratings; competitive labor markets, changes in labor conditions and labor disruptions; environmental liabilities associated with the properties that the Company owns or leases; the Company’s inability to locate appropriate real estate or enter into real estate leases on commercially acceptable terms; exchange rate fluctuations; additional expenses or capital expenditures associated with compliance with federal, regional, state and local laws and regulations in the U.S., the Netherlands, Belgium and other countries; product liability claims and adverse publicity; risks related to corporate responsibility and sustainable retailing; the Company’s inability to successfully implement its strategy, manage the growth of its business or realize the anticipated benefits of acquisitions; its inability to successfully complete divestitures and the effect of contingent liabilities arising from completed divestitures; unexpected outcomes with respect to tax audits; disruption of operations and other factors negatively affecting the Company’s suppliers; the unsuccessful operation of the Company’s franchised and affiliated stores; natural disasters and geopolitical events; inherent limitations in the Company’s control systems; the failure or breach of security of IT systems; changes in supplier terms; antitrust and similar legislation; unexpected outcome in the Company’s legal proceedings; adverse results arising from the Company’s claims against its self-insurance programs; increase in costs associated with the Company’s defined benefit pension plans; and other factors discussed in the Company’s public filings and other disclosures.

Forward-looking statements reflect the current views of the Company’s management and assumptions based on information currently available to the Company’s management. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and the Company does not assume any obligation to update such statements, except as required by law.

Contact:
Phone: +31 88 659 9111

Source: Ahold Delhaize

Kevin Holt to succeed James McCann at Ahold USA

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2016-Oct-08 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today (5 October 2016) Ahold Delhaize announced that James McCann, member of the Management Board of Ahold Delhaize, has resigned in order to move out of full-time executive work and into a portfolio of non-executive and advisory roles. He will remain available to provide an appropriate hand over and transition through April 30, 2017.

James joined Ahold in September 2011 as Chief Commercial Officer, taking over responsibilities for Ahold USA in 2013. After the merger between Ahold and Delhaize Group in July 2016, he became member of the Ahold Delhaize Management Board and continued his leadership role at Ahold USA.

Dick Boer, CEO Ahold Delhaize: “We thank James for his significant contributions both driving our e-commerce strategy whilst based in Europe and for the last three-and-a-half years driving the transformation at Ahold USA, supporting the Stop & Shop New York, Stop & Shop New England, Giant Landover, Giant Carlisle, Martin’s and Peapod brands. We wish James and his wife Tania all the best for the future.”

James McCann will be succeeded at Ahold USA by Kevin Holt. Kevin currently is CEO of Delhaize America and member of the Management Board of Ahold Delhaize.

Dick Boer: “As the new leader of Ahold USA, Kevin brings a wealth of US retail experience and he is recognized for his leadership skills.”

Kevin Holt: “I am looking forward to getting to know Ahold USA and the great brands it is supporting. I am leaving Delhaize America with pride for the transformations we have accomplished and with gratitude for the support and warmth I received from the many associates and customers.”

Following Kevin’s departure from Delhaize America to assume his new role at Ahold USA, Delhaize America including the Food Lion and Hannaford brands will be reporting on an ad interim basis to Frans Muller, Deputy CEO of Ahold Delhaize. Both Frans and Kevin will assume their new accountabilities effective immediately and will continue to report to Dick Boer.

Media Contacts:

Email: media.relations@aholddelhaize.com
Phone: +31 88 659 9111

Source: Ahold Delhaize Group

Ahold Delhaize ranks among industry leaders in Food and Staples Retailing sector in the 2016 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2016-Sep-08 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold Delhaize was recognized today in the 2016 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) for the first time as a new company, ranking among the industry leaders in the Food and Staples Retailing sector.

Ahold Delhaize received a total score of 79, well above the Food and Staples Retailing industry average score of 44. The DJSI World is a leading benchmark for investors who integrate sustainability considerations into their portfolios.

“Inclusion in the Index strengthens my belief that as Ahold Delhaize, together our brands can make an ever bigger difference in local communities – and the world,” said Ahold Delhaize CEO Dick Boer. “The brands[1] of Ahold Delhaize share a commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of customers, associates and the communities we serve. We will continue building our sustainable retailing strategy with a focus on promoting healthier eating, reducing food waste and creating healthy and inclusive workplaces.”

Boer noted that Ahold Delhaize performed particularly well in several significant categories, including health & nutrition, raw material sourcing and human capital development and with a performance well-balanced between economic, environmental and social criteria. “This reflects the outstanding efforts and contributions of the 375,000 associates of our local brands operating in eleven countries,” he said.

Ahold Delhaize was formed from the merger between Ahold and Delhaize Group in July 2016. Both companies were each included as industry leaders in the Food and Staples Retailing sector in the 2015 DJSI and have strong track records in sustainability.

As the 2016 ranking was completed prior to the merger, Ahold and Delhaize Group were scored separately. Their individual scores were then combined, using a weighted calculation based on the pre-merger value of their market shares.

The DJSI World, started in 1999 as the first global sustainability benchmark, tracks the performance of the world’s leading companies against economic, environmental and social criteria.

For more information about Ahold Delhaize and its sustainable retailing priority areas, please visit www.aholddelhaize.com/en/sustainable-retailing.

Media Contacts:

Email: media.relations@aholddelhaize.com
Phone: +31 88 659 9111

Source: Ahold Delhaize Group

Both Ahold and Delhaize Group report strong Q2 results; combined Q3 results to be published on November 17

Both Ahold and Delhaize Group report strong Q2 results; combined Q3 results to be published on November 17
Both Ahold and Delhaize Group report strong Q2 results; combined Q3 results to be published on November 17

 

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2016-Aug-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold Delhaize today (August 25, 2016) published Ahold’s second-quarter and half-year report for the period ended July 17, 2016, and, as an appendix, Delhaize Group’s summarized second-quarter and half-year report for the period ended June 30, 2016.

The company, a leader in supermarkets and e-commerce with 22 market-leading local brands in 11 countries, was formed from the merger of Ahold and Delhaize Group. The merger was effective on July 24, 2016, after the end of both companies’ second-quarter reporting periods.

CEO comments: Dick Boer, CEO of Ahold Delhaize, said: “We have started our new chapter as Ahold Delhaize with good momentum, with these two strong sets of pre-merger results. Building on our solid financial foundation, common values and great local brands, we are driving ahead with full energy to deliver even more for customers and communities, associates and shareholders. We look forward to continuing to shape Ahold Delhaize, with a strong commitment to delivering great food, value and innovations for customers across our 11 markets, both in stores and online.”

Pro-forma adjustments

Starting from the third quarter of 2016, Ahold Delhaize will report its quarterly financial performance for five business segments: The Netherlands, Belgium, Central and Southeastern Europe and two reporting segments in the United States. To provide a comparable base, pro-forma historical quarterly segment information will be published on October 6, 2016. In this pro-forma information, we will exclude the financial impact of divestments, as well as merger transaction costs. We will include the impact of purchase price allocation, as well as other effects, including the effects of the alignment of corporate costs allocation and accounting policies.

As announced by Ahold and Delhaize Group on July 14, 2016, 86 stores will be divested in the United States, as part of the approval of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Proceeds from these divestments  are estimated to be $174 million, resulting in no significant divestment gain or loss. These 86 stores represented $1.4 billion of net sales and $88 million of underlying operating income in 2015. In addition, Ahold Delhaize expects to divest another 10 stores in the Richmond area.

In Belgium, Ahold Delhaize will divest 13 stores, as part of the approval by the Belgian Competition Authority, as announced on March 15, 2016.  These 13 stores represented €94 million of net sales and €10 million of underlying operating income in 2015. In addition, Delhaize Belgium also announced the sale of pet specialist shop chain Tom&Co on June 27, 2016.

Outlook

We are confident that we will meet our synergy target of €500 million on an annual run-rate basis by mid-2019. In 2016, synergies are expected to positively impact operating income by €30 million in the second half of 2016.

We continue to expect €350 million in one-off costs related to the merger, of which €61 million has been booked by Ahold and Delhaize year-to-date 2016 and €80 million is expected for the second half of 2016. This excludes transaction costs, which we continue to expect to be within €140 million, of which €62 million has been booked by Ahold and Delhaize in 2015 and €15 million year-to-date in 2016, with the remainder expected for the second half of 2016.

Our free cash flow for 2016 is expected to be €1.3 billion, including expected capital expenditure of €1.8 billion, €0.2 billion of transaction, integration and Delhaize Belgium’s Transformation Plan costs and estimated cash flows from divestments of €0.1 billion.

We plan to hold a Capital Markets Day on December 7 in London, where we will provide an update on our future strategy framework for Ahold Delhaize, share more details on integration and synergies, and give guidance on our capital structure going forward.

Notes to this report

This report includes separate results for the second quarter and half year of 2016 for both former Koninklijke Ahold N.V. (“Ahold”) and former Delhaize Group SA/NV (“Delhaize”) on a standalone basis. Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize N.V. (“Ahold Delhaize”) will publish its first combined results as of the third quarter of 2016.

Ahold and Delhaize Group are reporting on a standalone basis for the second quarter and half year of 2016 because the July 24, 2016, effective merger date of Ahold and Delhaize fell after the July 17 end of Ahold’s first half year of 2016 and after the June 30 end of Delhaize’s first half year of 2016. Ahold’s interim report is included on pages 3-24 of this document and Delhaize’s summary report on pages 25-37. The members of the Ahold Delhaize Management Board who acted as members of the Ahold and Delhaize boards during these reporting periods are the ones responsible for the respective standalone half-year reports.

Cautionary notice

This communication contains forward-looking statements, which do not refer to historical facts but refer to expectations based on management’s current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance, or events to differ materially from those included in such statements.  These statements or disclosures may discuss goals, intentions and expectations as to future trends, plans, events, results of operations or financial condition, or state other information relating to Ahold Delhaize, based on current beliefs of management as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to, management.  Forward-looking statements generally will be accompanied by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “plan,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “guidance,” “intend,” “may,” “possible,” “potential,” “predict,” “project” or other similar words, phrases or expressions.

This communication contains Ahold Delhaize forward-looking statements relating to, among others, synergy targets, one-off costs, the performance of the Ahold Delhaize business, capital expenditure, cash flow, transaction and integration costs and the Ahold Delhaize Capital Markets Day on December 7, 2016, on which more information is expected to be provided on Ahold Delhaize’s future strategy framework, integration and synergies as well guidance on capital structure, strengthening customers’ proposition, strong sales growth at bol.com, principal enterprise risks faced by Ahold Delhaize, Delhaize’s integrated stores’ sales growth and Ahold Delhaize’s contingencies, commitments and guarantees.

Many of the risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond Ahold’s control. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the risks that the new businesses will not be integrated successfully or promptly or that the combined company will not realize the expected benefits from the transaction, Ahold Delhaize’s ability to successfully implement and complete its plans and strategies and to meet its targets, risks related to disruption of management time from ongoing business operations due to attention being required in connection with the integration, the benefits from Ahold Delhaize’s plans and strategies being less than anticipated, the effect of the merger on Ahold Delhaize’s ability to retain customers,retain and hire key personnel, attract employees who are integral to the success of the business and maintain relationships with suppliers, and on their operating results and businesses generally, litigation relating to the merger, the effect of general economic or political conditions, Ahold Delhaize’s business and IT continuity, collective bargaining, distinctiveness, competitive advantage and economic conditions; information security, legislative and regulatory environment and litigation risks and product safety, pension plan funding, strategic projects, sustainable retailing, insurance and unforeseen tax liabilities and other factors as discussed in Ahold’s and Delhaize’s public filings and other disclosures.

The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. Investors and shareholders are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made.  Ahold Delhaize does not assume any obligation to update any public information or forward-looking statement in this communication to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this communication, except as may be required by applicable laws.

Outside the Netherlands, Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize N.V., being its registered name, presents itself under the name of “Royal Ahold Delhaize” or simply “Ahold Delhaize.”

Media Relations:
Email: media.relations@aholddelhaize.com
Phone: +31 88 659 9111

Source: Ahold Delhaize

###

Delhaize Group CEO Frans Muller and Ahold CEO Dick Boer sign the merger deed after receiving regulatory clearance

Brussels, Belgium, 2016-Jul-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Delhaize Group and Ahold have received regulatory clearance for their merger from the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The companies subsequently completed the merger with the signing of the merger deed by Delhaize Group CEO Frans Muller and Ahold CEO Dick Boer today.

Mats Jansson, Chairman of Delhaize Group said: “Today is an historic day, as we are now really bringing together these two great companies, creating an even stronger international food retailer. We are completing this international transaction with great momentum and a high level of readiness.”

Frans Muller, Delhaize Group CEO said: “We are pleased to complete our merger with Ahold today. I would like to thank our associates for all their work and dedication. The moment to merge has never been more right, and we are confident that we will deliver even more for customers, communities and investors.”

The merger will become effective on Sunday, July 24, 2016 at 00:01 a.m. CET. Ahold Delhaize shares will start trading on Euronext Amsterdam and Euronext Brussels on Monday, July 25 with ticker symbol AD. Ahold Delhaize American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) will trade over-the-counter in the United States and will be quoted on the OTCQX International marketplace.

Media Contacts:

Tim van der Zanden
Head of External Communications
media.relations@aholddelhaize.com
+31 88 6595134

Maud van Gaal
Manager External Communications
media.relations@aholddelhaize.com
+31 88 6595134

Source: Ahold Delhaize Group

Ahold CEO Dick Boer speech on the AGM 2016

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2016-Apr-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold’s Annual General Meeting of Shareholders on April 19, 2016, included a speech by Ahold Chief Executive Officer Dick Boer. Following is the full text of the speech.

Once again, a very warm welcome here in Amsterdam for the second time this year. At today’s special meeting, which looks like it will be the last before Ahold merges with Delhaize, I would like to tell you a story about this great company and look back on our journey forward.

In 129 years, Ahold has grown from a family business with just one grocery store in the Dutch town of Oostzaan, to a leading retailer that serves millions of customers every day with more than 3,200 stores and, of course, our online businesses.

I don’t know about you, but the pictures you are seeing here in the Muziekgebouw today bring back a lot of memories for me. I have been with Ahold since 1998 and in the grocery business for 35 years already. I started in the eighties, right around the time when Albert Heijn introduced its slogan, “The nation’s largest grocer will start watching its pennies.” Perhaps you still remember this. Albert Heijn lowered prices on a large number of products. This was good for the customer, but I can tell you that it made times hard for competitors.

“What is right for the customer is also right for the business.” Right up to today, this has been the driving force behind our strong, local brands. Last month, bol.com, part of Ahold since 2012, won a major prize for being the best web store in the Netherlands. Here is a quote from the jury report: “Bol.com deserves this prize because it bases its choices on what customers find most important rather than what happens to be ‘cool’ in the industry.”

I am proud of that. This focus on the customer is the common thread that runs through our history and that connects all our brands.

Pioneering, responding to what is happening in society, as well as anticipating and bringing about change in the supermarket sector. This is also a common thread running through our history. The Heijns, along with the founders of our other brands, were retail pioneers. Take the founders of Giant Landover in the United States, who opened the first mass-merchandised supermarket in 1936. Skeptics said that “supermarkets” would never catch on, but they were wrong. Later on, Mr. Albert Heijn was inspired by the large stores he saw on a trip to the United States. If he had not decided to invest in the supermarket formula then, and open the first self-service store in 1952, our supermarket landscape and our business would look very different now.

I should also mention 1981, when Albert Heijn started to roll out the franchise formula. This company realized the value of having a good balance between company-owned stores and local entrepreneurship. That still applies today, and we are very proud of all these motivated entrepreneurs.

Change is in our DNA, and that has also brought us much with regard to online. AH.nl, by far the largest online supermarket in the Netherlands, traces its roots back to 1987, when Ahold operated the home shopping service James TeleSuper. In the late eighties, Peapod in the United States – part of Ahold since 2001 – was the first e-commerce-only company in the world. And since its launch as an online bookshop in 1999, bol.com has grown into the largest online department store in the Netherlands and Belgium.

At the time when I took the helm as CEO of Ahold, we had not really utilized the leading positions of AH.nl and Peapod enough. The assumption was that customers wanted the physical store online. But my team and I saw tremendous opportunities for this sleeping beauty in our group. In 2011, when we presented our Reshaping Retail strategy with omni-channel as a key element, it really got its place in our organization and picked up steam. In 2012, bol.com joined the group, which was a crucial step. They did not think in terms of the limitations of physical shops, but in terms of the infinite possibilities of online. They really infused Ahold’s DNA with online.

Two years later, in 2014, we presented our omni-channel ambitions to the market. We are well on track to achieving our goal of €2.5 billion in online consumer sales in 2017. In 2015, we were at €1.8 billion.

At the time, we said that we would invest to achieve this growth, based on the conviction that digitization is changing our industry irreversibly.

You have to fully commit to be successful – you have to be the first mover and be able to scale up quickly. Bol.com is a great example of this, with sales growth of more than 25% in 2015. This year, their consumer sales are on track to exceed €1 billion, thanks to investments in areas such as product range, product information and delivery options. This is almost three times as much as in 2012.

Ah.nl currently has a service area of 86% of the Netherlands for home delivery. Or Peapod: though it is not growing as fast as bol.com, it managed to grow new customers and sales by 45% in the fourth quarter in the New York area, a key growth market.

I told you about our stores: brick-and-mortar and online. But the listed company, Ahold, also has a history worth mentioning. In 1948, Albert Heijn was the first retailer listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. In 1973, Ahold N.V. was established and Albert Heijn became part of the holding, which was able to expand abroad. In 1987, when Albert Heijn celebrated its 100th anniversary, Ahold received the predicate “Royal.” We are very proud that Ahold Delhaize will also use the predicate after the intended merger.

We are looking back at our journey forward. And let me be clear, we have also had some tough times along the way. I don’t need to remind you, our often longstanding shareholders, of that. After a period of very rapid global expansion, we were dealt a hard blow in 2003. I will personally never forget the shock wave that hit us back then. What will also stay with me is how we, as a team, put our shoulders to the wheel to put the business back on track, together with our associates and suppliers. Ahold sold many business units and we reinvented ourselves as a focused company with leading positions in our markets.

I was CEO of Albert Heijn at that time. Inspired by conversations I had with Mr. Albert Heijn after I was appointed, my team and I developed the slogan that helped put the Albert Heijn brand on the road to recovery after 2003: “Everyday products affordable and special products attainable.” We went back to a clear focus on the customer.
Because what is right for the customer is also right for the business. I mentioned this motto already. It is reflected in our formats, in our product range and in how we do business. We are seeing a shift in what our customers want. They want to be able to shop how, when and where they want. They are demanding better quality, more value for money. They want responsibly sourced and healthy food. They want to know where the products come from. And affordability is key – basically, they want it all.

Ahold is constantly taking steps in this area, too. As a large employer, as a producer and a customer, as a neighbor and as a place where people come to do their daily grocery shopping, we see a role for ourselves in tackling a number of the major challenges in society, including health, food security, diversity, responsible consumption and production, and so on.

In 2011, we clearly set out a number of ambitions in our Responsible Retailing strategy. Last month, in our Responsible Retailing Report, we showed that we had achieved most of the goals we had set ourselves in five years.

Let me mention just a couple:

Healthier products make up an increasing portion of our sales. We have achieved this, among others, by reducing the price of fruit and vegetables, by changing product formulation and by offering more and more choice, but also by making it easier for customers to find and understand the healthy options we offer.

Let me take this opportunity to talk about our successful organic brands, too. Albert Heijn was one of the first supermarkets in the Netherlands to launch a line of own-brand organic products in 1998 and now is the supermarket with the most organic products in the Netherlands. In the U.S., we introduced our Nature’s Promise brand in 2004, with great success, and a growing assortment — with more than 800 products currently, including food but also non-food items such as detergents.

We want to be a better neighbor, and many of our efforts are aimed at children (though – as you know – we never forget about the elderly). Almost one million children took part in our educational programs on healthy living, such as the Passport to Nutrition Program in the U.S. and the “Ik eet het beter”’ program in the Netherlands.

We also made important progress in the field of sourcing. We analyze the supply chain, from farmer to customer, and continuously take steps to ensure food safety, sustainable production and good working conditions.

We have established deep and long-standing relationships with many of our suppliers of fresh products, whom we consider our partners. We have been working with some of them for more than 50 years. See, for instance, Albert Heijn’s cucumber farmer in the next video clip.

In 2007, the Albert Heijn Foundation was established – a partnership of Albert Heijn, ICCO and Fair Match Support to improve the circumstances and future prospects of African vegetable, fruit and flower farm workers.

And one final example: I am very pleased to report at this meeting that Ahold USA has joined the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Fair Food Program, dedicated to delivering responsibly sourced tomatoes and improving the lives of farm workers in the U.S.

And very importantly, our people. Mr. Albert Heijn was already aware decades ago that associates were the company’s true capital. And this is still the case. In 2015, we had 236,000 associates. It is their daily interactions with our customers, their entrepreneurship and creativity that makes us successful. We want to offer them a working environment that encourages initiative and where they can continue to build a future with Ahold or in the next phases of their career, with competitive remuneration and other benefits. We are proud that so many people are able to take the first steps on their career paths in our stores.

We are forging ahead as a Responsible Retailer. As we are about to merge, we will present our joint plans and ambitions as Ahold Delhaize in the fourth quarter. Both companies were included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2015 – for Ahold it was the seventh straight time – a clear recognition of our efforts in this field.

I am convinced that collaboration in the industry is also essential if we are to have real impact, for example, in the Consumer Goods Forum, of which both Ahold and Delhaize are members, along with around 400 retailers, producers and other stakeholders globally.

And now it is time for a few words about the recent past, 2015. Our CFO, Jeff Carr, will shortly be talking about our financial performance in more depth, so I will just mention a couple of highlights.

We can look back on a strong year in which we have challenged ourselves to innovate more quickly, to find new ways of offering our customers fresher products and to create more value. We reported sales of just over €38 billion driven by strong performances in our stores, particularly during the holidays in December, and very strong growth in online sales. And, of course, also helped by the U.S. dollar.

In the U.S., sales, excluding gasoline sales, grew by more than 4%, adjusted for an additional week in 2015. We saw an improvement in price perception across our brands.

This is an important driver of sales and a key goal of our local strategy, which is aimed at investments in price and quality. As part of this program, we have rolled out improved fruit and vegetable departments in more than 500 stores. And we are now tackling the bakery departments. Earlier this month we announced a next round of price decreases, on about 1,000 products in our stores.

We tested a new format, named bfresh: smaller stores aimed at city customers with a focus on fresh food and local convenience. We also added 25 former A&P stores in the interesting New York Metro market area.

In the Netherlands, sales momentum remained strong, with a 3.2% increase in identical sales. The recovery at Albert Heijn continued, after a couple more difficult years. We re-invented ourselves as a market leader that knows how to touch customers’ hearts and minds – and that makes me very proud. It is a compliment to the Albert Heijn team and all associates.

They launched new products, inspired our customers and introduced popular savings and collectibles campaigns. As an example, over the past few weeks, we have distributed more than 47 million “grow-your-own garden” kits here in the Netherlands, which I’m sure won’t have escaped your attention. They help tell customers the stories behind the products they buy.

Or look at the Albert Heijn to go team, who can develop an idea into a product on the shelves in just a month. Very importantly, customers showed their appreciation. Albert Heijn’s market share grew to 35% in the past year.

In the Czech Republic, we now have more than 330 stores, including the SPAR stores we acquired last year. Most of these are supermarkets and they reported strong identical sales growth thanks to a new store concept we rolled out.

I have already talked about our strong growth in online. Our investments over the past couple of years paid off, with online consumer sales of €1.8 billion. Bol.com accounted for half this figure, following an excellent, record-breaking holiday period. At a peak moment right before Christmas, they received 11 orders every second. Peapod and AH.nl were also leaders in online food.

Our free cash flow remained strong at €1.2 billion this year. This enables us to continue to invest. Today, we are proposing a dividend of 52 cents, more than 8% higher than last year. And, as approved last month, we will return about €1 billion in capital to you, Ahold’s shareholders, prior to the completion of the proposed merger with Delhaize

On our way forward, we have brought together a portfolio of strong, local brands on which we continue to build. A lot happened in this area in 2015. Etos and Gall & Gall here in the Netherlands launched new logos, with a strong link to core values in their past. The Albert brand in the Czech Republic, considerably bigger thanks to the acquisition of the SPAR stores last year, was also repositioned.

Our U.S. stores are running the tagline “My Giant helps me save money, save time, and eat well” – or “My Stop & Shop,” or “My Martin’s” of course. This helps them to communicate more clearly to the customer what they stand for.

And, as you may have already seen online or in the media, Albert Heijn has also launched a new campaign that harks back to the mottos and key drivers of its founders: Authenticity, innovation, what matters, commitment. It started out as an internal movement, shared with associates in the stores, in the distribution centers and in the office. And it is now finding its way to the outside world.

In 1911, Albert Heijn launched the first own-brand products, next to other brands, of course, as the customer always wants a balance. In the Netherlands, more than half the products we sell are now own brand. In the United States, this figure is 38% and in the Czech Republic it is one-third. I’m proud of these figures as this too, is a strategic choice within our Reshaping Retail framework.

Before I finish, I would like to make a confession that touches upon this. During my career, I have worked in several countries so my family has lived in different places. In all these places we had one constant factor, which was our favorite chocolate spread, and that was from the own brand of … Delhaize.

Of course there is a reason why I am making this personal confession. Delhaize’s experience with its own brand in various countries is one of the areas in which we can learn from our future merger partner.

We, on the other hand, bring in our expertise with regard to omni-channel. And together we will be stronger with our shared vision on corporate social responsibility.

One month ago, you gave us the go-ahead to merge with Delhaize. So, I no longer need to convince you of the reasons behind this transaction. Still, I would like to emphasize once more the opportunities we see to further build our strong, local brands together. What is right for the customer is also right for the new business.

Since the Extraordinary General Meeting, we have received approval from the Belgian Competition Authority. With that, the antitrust reviews in Europe are complete. The review by the Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. is still underway. I cannot comment on that further but what I can say is that we are on track to finalize the merger in mid-2016 and kick off with the new company.

At next year’s meeting, I hope to be able to talk about the results of our first trading period as Ahold Delhaize. A new milestone. In 2017, Delhaize will be celebrating its 150th anniversary, and Ahold, its 130th. This will be the next step on our shared journey forward, on which we will become an even stronger international retailer, driven by great brands.

I would like to end with a few words of thanks. To our customers, who come to us for their daily groceries and inspire us to continue improving. To our associates, and our franchisers. And of course, I would like to thank you, our shareholders, for your support and your confidence in the future of Ahold, and Ahold Delhaize.

Click here for more information about the AGM 2016

Cautionary notice

The Dutch version of this press release is leading in case of inconsistencies.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This communication contains forward-looking statements, which do not refer to historical facts but refer to expectations based on management’s current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance, or events to differ materially from those included in such statements. These statements or disclosures may discuss goals, intentions and expectations as to future trends, plans, events, results of operations or financial condition, or state other information relating to Ahold, based on current beliefs of management as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to, management. Forward-looking statements generally will be accompanied by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “plan,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “guidance,” “intend,” “may,” “possible,” “potential,” “predict,” “project” or other similar words, phrases or expressions.

This communication contains Ahold forward-looking statements as to, amongst others,

Ahold tackling major challenges in society as to, amongst others, health, food security, diversity and responsible consumption, its Responsible Retailing Strategy, which covers, amongst others, organic products, being a better neighbor, sourcing and people, capital repayment, strong local brands and the intended merger between Ahold and Delhaize.

Many of the risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond Ahold’s control. Therefore, investors and shareholders should not place undue reliance on such statements, which include but are not limited to Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: the occurrence of any change, event or development that could give rise to the termination of the merger agreement; the risk that the necessary regulatory approvals may not be obtained or may be obtained subject to conditions that are not anticipated; failure to satisfy other closing conditions with respect to the transaction on the proposed terms and timeframe; the possibility that the transaction does not close when expected or at all; the risks that the new businesses will not be integrated successfully or promptly or that the combined company will not realize the expected benefits from the transaction; Ahold’s ability to successfully implement and complete its plans and strategies and to meet its targets; risks related to disruption of management time from ongoing business operations due to the proposed transaction; the benefits from Ahold’s plans and strategies being less than anticipated; the effect of the announcement or completion of the proposed transaction on the ability of Ahold to retain customers and retain and hire key personnel, maintain relationships with suppliers, and on their operating results and businesses generally; litigation relating to the transaction; the effect of general economic or political conditions; Ahold’s ability to retain and attract employees who are integral to the success of the business; business and IT continuity, collective bargaining, distinctiveness, competitive advantage and economic conditions; information security, legislative and regulatory environment and litigation risks; and product safety, pension plan funding, strategic projects, responsible retailing, insurance and unforeseen tax liabilities.

The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Ahold does not assume any obligation to update any public information or forward-looking statement in this communication to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this communication, except as may be required by applicable laws.

Outside the Netherlands, Koninklijke Ahold N.V., being its registered name, presents itself under the name of “Royal Ahold” or simply “Ahold.”

Strong financial results for Ahold in the fourth quarter and full year 2015

Ahold achieved strong results, led by solid store performance and a substantial increase in online sales:

  • 21.4% increase in Q4 Group sales to €9.8 billion (up 11.8% at constant exchange rates)
  • 4.3% increase in Q4 sales excluding gas (at constant exchange rates and adjusted for an additional week)
  • Online sales growth continued to accelerate, with Q4 adjusted net consumer sales up 29.1% at constant rates
  • Q4 underlying operating income up 39.4% to €421 million; underlying operating margin at 4.3%
  • Strong Q4 free cash flow of €401 million, resulting in €1,184 million full year free cash flow
  • Proposed dividend of €0.52, up 8.3% compared to last year
  • Announced merger with Delhaize on track to close in mid-2016; EGM to be held on March 14

Download

Download the full report, analyst presentation, Annual Report 2015 and Responsible Retailing Report 2015:

Analyst conference call – webcast

Zaandam, The Netherlands, 2016-Mar-07 — /EPR Retail News/ —  Ahold today announced strong financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2015, reflecting good performances across its key markets and multiple formats. This included net annual sales of €38 billion, driven by excellent store operations, especially during the holiday season, and a strong increase in consumer online sales.

Ahold CEO Dick Boer said: “With a sharp focus on supporting our great local brands and investing to serve the rapidly changing interests and needs of our customers, we have made very good progress and achieved strong operating and financial results for the fourth quarter and the year. We challenged ourselves to innovate faster, to bring our customers fresher products in new and different ways, and to deliver greater value. This progress was supported by reinvesting the substantial savings achieved through our company-wide Simplicity program. We are pleased with the response from our customers and appreciate the continued great work of our associates, which led to robust sales performance, market share gains and an increase in Group operating income for the year.

“In the Netherlands, sales momentum remains strong, with a 3.2% increase in identical sales. This reflects our successful omni-channel strategy, a strong holiday season and positive sales momentum at Albert Heijn. Albert Heijn’s customers are benefiting from our broader and innovative product range and the expansion of healthy choices in our Fresh departments, resulting in increased market share for Q4 and the full year.

“In the United States, we grew sales excluding gas by 4.1%, adjusted for an additional week. We continue to make good progress with our investments in quality and price, highlighted by growth in identical sales and market share gains, primarily in the New York Metro market where we further strengthened our position with the successful conversion of 25 former A&P stores.

“Our online performance was also strong with a nearly 30% increase in consumer sales in the fourth quarter. Bol.com maintained its position as the number one online retail destination in the Netherlands and had a particularly strong December. In addition, Peapod and ah.nl remain leading online grocers in their respective markets.

“Finally, our proposed merger with Delhaize continues to progress on schedule. The combination of Ahold and Delhaize will create an even better retail leader for customers and associates and will enable us to further build on the position of our respected and popular local brands in the communities we serve.”

 

Legal notices

No offer or solicitation
This communication is being made in connection with, among others, the proposed business combination transaction between Koninklijke Ahold N.V., also known as Royal Ahold (“Ahold”), and Delhaize Group NV/SA (“Delhaize”). This communication is not intended to and does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to subscribe for or buy or an invitation to purchase or subscribe for any securities or the solicitation of any vote or approval in any jurisdiction in connection with the proposed transaction or otherwise, nor shall there be any sale, issuance or transfer of securities in any jurisdiction in contravention of applicable law. No offer of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and applicable Dutch, Belgian and other European regulations. This communication is not for release, publication or distribution, in whole or in part, in or into, directly or indirectly, any jurisdiction in which such release, publication or distribution would be unlawful.

Important additional information will be filed with the SEC
In connection with the proposed transaction, Ahold has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) a registration statement on Form F-4, which includes a prospectus. On January 28, 2016, the SEC declared the registration statement effective, and the prospectus was mailed to the holders of American Depositary Shares of Delhaize and holders of ordinary shares of Delhaize (other than holders of ordinary shares of Delhaize who are non-U.S. persons (as defined in the applicable rules of the SEC)) on or around February 5, 2016. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROSPECTUS AND OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS FILED OR TO BE FILED WITH THE SEC CAREFULLY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT AHOLD, DELHAIZE, THE TRANSACTION AND RELATED MATTERS. Investors and security holders are able to obtain free copies of the prospectus and other documents filed with the SEC by Ahold and Delhaize through the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov. In addition, investors and security holders are able to obtain free copies of the prospectus and other documents filed by Ahold with the SEC by contacting Ahold Investor Relations at investor.relations@ahold.com or by calling +31 88 659 5213, and are able to obtain free copies of the prospectus and other documents filed by Delhaize by contacting Investor Relations Delhaize Group at Investor@delhaizegroup.com or by calling +32 2 412 2151.

Forward-looking statements
This communication contains forward-looking statements, which do not refer to historical facts but refer to expectations based on management’s current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance, or events to differ materially from those included in such statements. These statements or disclosures may discuss goals, intentions and expectations as to future trends, plans, events, results of operations or financial condition, or state other information relating to Ahold, based on current beliefs of management as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to, management. Forward-looking statements generally will be accompanied by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “plan,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “guidance,” “intend,” “may,” “possible,” “potential,” “predict,” “project” or other similar words, phrases or expressions. Many of these risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond Ahold’s control. Therefore, investors and shareholders should not place undue reliance on such statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: the occurrence of any change, event or development that could give rise to the termination of the merger agreement; the ability to obtain the approval of the transaction by Ahold’s and Delhaize’s shareholders; the risk that the necessary regulatory approvals may not be obtained or may be obtained subject to conditions that are not anticipated; failure to satisfy other closing conditions with respect to the transaction on the proposed terms and time frame; the possibility that the transaction does not close when expected or at all; the risks that the new businesses will not be integrated successfully or promptly or that the combined company will not realize the expected benefits from the transaction; Ahold’s ability to successfully implement and complete its plans and strategies and to meet its targets; risks related to disruption of management time from ongoing business operations due to the proposed transaction; the benefits from Ahold’s plans and strategies being less than anticipated; the effect of the announcement or completion of the proposed transaction on the ability of Ahold to retain customers and retain and hire key personnel, maintain relationships with suppliers, and on their operating results and businesses generally; litigation relating to the transaction; the effect of general economic or political conditions; Ahold’s ability to retain and attract employees who are integral to the success of the business; business and IT continuity, collective bargaining, distinctiveness, competitive advantage and economic conditions; information security, legislative and regulatory environment and litigation risks; and product safety, pension plan funding, strategic projects, responsible retailing, insurance, unforeseen tax liabilities and other factors discussed in Ahold’s public filings and other disclosures.

Furthermore, this communication contains Ahold forward-looking statements as to investments in online businesses, the translation of new and innovative ideas into products in store, price campaigns and differentiation with local products in the Czech Republic, underlying margins, the Simplicity cost saving and efficiency program, investments in logistical infrastructure in The Netherlands, liquidity, cash, working capital, capital expenditures, interest payments, dividends, debt repayments, leverage, investment grade credit rating, the impact of new accounting standards, expected synergies from the combination of operations and Ahold’s ability expand its geographic reach, capital return, reverse stock split, Ahold’s Global Reward Opportunity program and the use of treasury shares.

The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. Investors and shareholders are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this communication. Ahold does not assume any obligation to update any public information or forward-looking statements in this communication to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as may be required by applicable laws. Outside the Netherlands, Koninklijke Ahold N.V., being its registered name, presents itself under the name of “Royal Ahold” or simply “Ahold.”

Ahold included in Food & Staples Retailing industry group in Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI)

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2015-9-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold was included in the Food & Staples Retailing industry group in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI) for the 7th consecutive year today. This demonstrates its commitment to responsible retailing.

Ahold received a top score in supply chain management and raw materials sourcing, and also performed particularly well on environmental and social criteria, which are key elements in its sustainability strategy.

Ahold CEO Dick Boer said: “This recognition makes me proud of Ahold and all of our 227,000 associates. Responsible retailing is a fundamental ingredient of our Reshaping Retail strategy, and this proves that we are on the right track. Our place in this influential ranking only drives our ambition to be a responsible retailer.”

The ranking demonstrates the progress that Ahold has made in recent years. Ahold scored 76 (out of 100), compared to the industry average of 47. The Food & Staples Retailing sector lead scored 77.

The DJSI World started in 1999 as the first global sustainability benchmark, tracking the performance of the world’s leading companies on economic, environmental and social criteria.

Through its Responsible Retailing program, Ahold promises customers healthy choices and products that are made with respect for people, animals and the environment. The strategy focuses on five priority areas: healthy living, community well-being, our people, responsible products and care for the environment. Responsible Retailing is one of the six strategic pillars supporting Ahold’s ambition to grow as part of its Reshaping Retail framework.

More information on Ahold’s commitment to responsible retailing is available at www.ahold.com/Media/Responsible-retailing.htm.

Cautionary notice

This press release includes forward-looking statements, which do not refer to historical facts but refer to expectations based on management’s current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those included in such statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements as to the ambition to be a responsible retailer. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Many of these risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond Ahold’s ability to control or estimate precisely, such as factors discussed in Ahold’s public filings and other disclosures. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Ahold does not assume any obligation to update any public information or forward-looking statements in this press release to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as may be required by applicable laws.

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Ahold CEO Dick Boer: We grew sales, operating income and net income and delivered strong free cash flow in Q2 2015

Zaandam, The Netherlands, 2015-8-24— /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold today published its summary report for the second quarter and first half of 2015. Highlights of the second quarter are:

  • Sales of €8.7 billion, up 17.1% (up 3.1% at constant exchange rates)
  • Sales excluding gas up 4.8% at constant exchange rates
  • Underlying operating margin of 3.8%, down 0.1 percentage points
  • Strong free cash flow of €367 million, up €297 million
  • Sales in the Netherlands up 6.8%, due to a strong performance by Albert Heijn and the impact of growth initiatives, resulting in increased transactions and higher volumes
  • Sales in the United States excluding gas up 2.1%, reflecting an improved customer proposition
  • Consumer online sales up 22.8% (at constant exchange rates), driven by ongoing investments
  • Ahold and Delhaize announced their intention to merge on June 24, 2015, combining two highly complementary businesses

CEO Dick Boer said: “We had a strong quarter and are pleased with the financial performance across our business. We grew sales, operating income and net income and delivered strong free cash flow.

“In the Netherlands, Albert Heijn continued its strong sales momentum with more transactions and higher volumes, increasing its market share this quarter versus one year ago. Our market-leading Dutch online businesses Albert Heijn Online and bol.com achieved combined consumer sales growth of more than 30% and we continue to invest in future growth. In the United States, we continue to focus on improving our customer proposition and remain on track with the implementation of our program to provide better quality and value to our customers. For the fourth consecutive quarter, we grew volume market share in the United States and our margins were resilient, as a result of ongoing cost control. In the Czech Republic, we saw improved sales, primarily driven by our Albert supermarkets, with profitability temporarily affected by the SPAR acquisition, as per our previous guidance.

“Looking ahead, we remain confident in our outlook for the business and are on track to deliver a full-year performance in line with expectations. We are excited about the agreement with Delhaize, which brings together two highly complementary businesses to create a stronger, international food retailer for the benefit of our customers, associates and shareholders.”

Legal notices

No offer or solicitation
This communication is being made in connection with, amongst others, the proposed business combination transaction between Koninklijke Ahold N.V. also known as Royal Ahold (“Ahold”) and Delhaize Group (“Delhaize”). This communication is not intended to and does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to subscribe for or buy or an invitation to purchase or subscribe for any securities or the solicitation of any vote or approval in any jurisdiction in connection with the proposed transaction or otherwise, nor shall there be any sale, issuance or transfer of securities in any jurisdiction in contravention of applicable law. No offer of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and applicable Dutch, Belgian and other European regulations. This communication is not for release, publication or distribution, in whole or in part, in or into, directly or indirectly, any jurisdiction in which such release, publication or distribution would be unlawful.

Important additional information will be filed with the SEC
In connection with the proposed transaction, Ahold will file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) a registration statement on Form F-4 that will include a prospectus. The prospectus will be mailed to the holders of American Depositary Shares of Delhaize and holders of ordinary shares of Delhaize (other than holders of ordinary shares of Delhaize that are non-U.S. persons (as defined in the applicable rules of the SEC). INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROSPECTUS AND OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS FILED OR TO BE FILED WITH THE SEC CAREFULLY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT AHOLD, DELHAIZE, THE TRANSACTION AND RELATED MATTERS. Investors and security holders will be able to obtain free copies of the prospectus and other documents filed with the SEC by Ahold and Delhaize through the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov. In addition, investors and security holders will be able to obtain free copies of the prospectus and other documents filed by Ahold with the SEC by contacting Ahold Investor Relations at investor.relations@ahold.com or by calling +31 88 659 5213, and will be able to obtain free copies of the prospectus and other documents filed by Delhaize by contacting Investor Relations Delhaize Group at Investor@delhaizegroup.com or by calling +32 2 412 2151.

Forward-looking statements
This communication contains forward-looking statements, which do not refer to historical facts but refer to expectations based on management’s current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results, performance, or events to differ materially from those included in such statements. These statements or disclosures may discuss goals, intentions and expectations as to future trends, plans, events, results of operations or financial condition, or state other information relating to Ahold, based on current beliefs of management as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to, management. Forward-looking statements generally will be accompanied by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “plan,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “guidance,” “intend,” “may,” “possible,” “potential,” “predict,” “project” or other similar words, phrases or expressions. Many of these risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond Ahold’s control. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: the occurrence of any change, event or development that could give rise to the termination of the merger agreement; the ability to obtain the approval of the transaction by Ahold’s and Delhaize’s shareholders; the risk that the necessary regulatory approvals may not be obtained or may be obtained subject to conditions that are not anticipated; failure to satisfy other closing conditions with respect to the transaction on the proposed terms and time frame; the possibility that the transaction does not close when expected or at all; the risks that the new businesses will not be integrated successfully or promptly or that the combined company will not realize the expected benefits from the transaction; Ahold’s ability to successfully implement and complete its plans and strategies and to meet its targets; risks related to disruption of management time from ongoing business operations due to the proposed transaction; the benefits from Ahold’s plans and strategies being less than anticipated, risks related to disruption of management time from ongoing business operations due to the proposed transaction; the effect of the announcement or completion of the proposed transaction on the ability of Ahold to retain customers and retain and attract employees who are integral to the success of the business; maintain relationships with suppliers, and on their operating results and businesses generally; litigation relating to the transaction; the effect of general economic or political conditions; fluctuations in exchange rates or interest rates; increases or changes in competition; changes in Ahold’s liquidity needs; the actions of competitors and third parties business and IT continuity; collective bargaining; distinctiveness; competitive advantage and economic condition; information security; legislative and regulatory environment and litigation risks; product safety; pension plan funding; strategic projects; responsible retailing; insurance and unforeseen tax liabilities and other factors discussed in Ahold’s public filings and other disclosures.

Furthermore, this communication contains Ahold forward-looking statements as to continued focus on customer proposition and the implementation of Ahold’s program to provide better quality and value to its customers, outlook for the business, delivery of a full-year performance in line with expectations, acquisition by Stop & Shop New York Metro of A&P stores, investments in online business, , higher pension costs, margin dilution by the SPAR acquisition in the Czech Republic, financial and operational performance, cost savings and cost control, the effect of improvements in accounting standards on the consolidated financial statements of Ahold and the return of former C1000 stores by Ahold to Jumbo.

The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. Investors and shareholders are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this communication. Ahold does not assume any obligation to update any public information or forward-looking statements in this communication to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as may be required by applicable laws.

Outside the Netherlands, Koninklijke Ahold N.V., being its registered name, presents itself under the name of “Royal Ahold” or simply “Ahold.”

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Ahold updates stakeholders on the progress it made during the year on its Responsible Retailing Report 2014

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2015-3-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold today published its Responsible Retailing Report 2014, updating stakeholders on the progress it has made during the year on its five priority areas – healthy living, community well-being, our people, responsible products and care for the environment. Responsible Retailing is one of the six strategic pillars supporting Ahold’s ambition to grow as part of its Reshaping Retail framework.

The report offers stories from across Ahold’s businesses about how associates are working towards the company’s current 2015 targets.

Ahold CEO Dick Boer said: “We want to bring our customers great value, high quality and affordable fresh products, and to do so in a responsible way. We cannot do this in isolation and will continue to work closely with our partners and stakeholders. I am very pleased with the progress in this area we are reporting today.”

Herewith some key highlights of Ahold’s 2014 accomplishments:

Healthy living

  • Healthy products accounted for 24.4% of total food sales at Ahold.
  • Ahold increased its assortment of products with a healthy-choice logo or shelf tag by over 500, to a total of 9,341.
  • Ahold USA piloted a new fresh produce department, offering local, exotic and organic fruits and vegetables and ready-to-eat products, and supported by specially trained associates. It will be rolled out to additional stores in 2015.

Community well-being

  • With programs in the U.S., the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, Ahold continued to support food banks through direct donations and food collection drives coordinated from its stores.
  • Ahold’s health education programs reached over 720,000 kids in the U.S. and Europe.
  • Ahold USA was awarded Progressive Grocer’s prestigious 2014 Retailer of the Year award in recognition of its community support.

Our people

  • 1 out 10 associates took part in healthy living programs around the globe.
  • 40 Albert Heijn stores in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, offered free homework tuition classes to help part-time associates who also attend school, the program is now being rolled out to other cities.
  • Albert stores in Czech Republic rolled out its “Favorite” program to 70 stores, helping associates to engage better with customers to become the favorite supermarket in town.

Responsible products

  • 83% of Ahold’s own-brand coffee was sourced according to accepted industry certification standards.
  • 97% of Ahold’s own-brand food suppliers in Europe had been certified against Global Food Safety Initiative recognized standards, compared to 94% of own-brand food sales in the U.S.
  • In the U.S, the company’s supermarkets were the first in the country to introduce own-brand UTZ certified sustainable chocolate bars, following Albert Heijn’s initiatives.

Care for the environment

  • Ahold achieved 18.5% reduction in CO2 emissions, compared to 2008, by switching to LED lighting, eco-friendly refrigerants and natural gas delivery trucks.
  • The Ahold USA divisions succeeded in cutting back the number of disposable bags distributed in their stores by 547 million since 2011, as part of their Billion Bag Reduction Program.
  • “Young Ahold Best Idea” winners opened Instock restaurant in Amsterdam, tackling food waste.

As the current five-year targets under the Responsible Retailing strategy expire at the end of 2015, Ahold is currently finalizing new ambitions for 2020, which will be shared in the second half of the year.

Read more in the Responsible Retailing Report 2014.

Cautionary notice

This press release includes forward-looking statements, which do not refer to historical facts but refer to expectations based on management’s current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those included in such statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements as to Ahold’s current 2015 targets in its five responsible retailing priority areas. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Many of these risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond Ahold’s ability to control or estimate precisely, such as discussed in Ahold’s public filings and other disclosures. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Koninklijke Ahold N.V. does not assume any obligation to update any public information or forward-looking statements in this release to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as may be required by law. Outside the Netherlands, Koninklijke Ahold N.V., being its registered name, presents itself under the name of “Royal Ahold” or simply “Ahold.”

Ahold reports Q4 sales of EUR 8.1 billion, up 7.9%; FY 2014 results announced

  • Q4 sales of €8.1 billion, up 7.9% driven by currency and improved sales trends (up 2.6% at constant exchange rates)
  • Underlying operating margin of 3.7%; excluding the impact of the SPAR acquisition, stable versus prior two quarters at 3.9%
  • Simplicity program 2012-2014 achieved €865 million; new target for 2015 of €350 million
  • Strong free cash flow in Q4 resulted in full-year free cash flow of €1,055 million
  • Dividend increased by 2.1% to €0.48 per share
  • New €500 million share buyback program over the next 12 months

Zaandam, The Netherlands, 2015-3-3 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold today published its summary report for the fourth quarter and full year 2014.

CEO Dick Boer said: “In the fourth quarter, we reported a strong sales performance, reflecting a positive currency impact as well as improvements in underlying sales trends, both in the United States and in the Netherlands. Our underlying operating margin was stable versus the previous two quarters, adjusted for the SPAR acquisition. Free cash flow generation during the quarter was strong, with €613 million compared to €485 million last year.

“The actions we took this year across our businesses to improve our customer proposition and to provide better value to our customers resulted in an improving sales performance over the course of the year. Operating income of €1,250 million was slightly higher than last year. Underlying operating margin of 3.9% was impacted by investments in our customer proposition in the United States, strong sales growth from our online business in the Netherlands and our acquisition of the SPAR stores in the Czech Republic. We completed our 2012-2014 Simplicity program and achieved €865 million in cost and efficiency improvements, exceeding our target of €600 million.

“We continued to generate strong free cash flow, amounting to €1,055 million for the year. In May, we executed our €1 billion capital repayment and reverse stock split and by December we completed our €2 billion share buyback program. Today, we are announcing a new €500 million share buyback program over the next 12 months. Following our strong free cash flow, the Board has proposed a 2.1% increase in our dividend to €0.48, reflecting a payout of 51%.”

Cautionary notice

This press release includes forward-looking statements, which do not refer to historical facts but refer to expectations based on management’s current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those included in such statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to statements as to dividend and payout ratio, share buyback, competition in the markets in which Ahold operates, the integration of SPAR, customer proposition, costs savings and efficiency improvements, investments, pension costs and cash contributions, free cash flow, capital expenditures, interest expense, effective tax rate, debt repayment, returning cash to shareholders, liquidity, capital structure, leverage ratio, agreements with Albert Heijn franchisees, conversion of stores to the Albert Heijn banner, synergies from the combination of operations, Ahold’s ability to expand its geographic area , Albert Heijn franchise litigation and GRO shares. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by the forwardlooking statements. Many of these risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond Ahold’s ability to control or estimate precisely, such as the effect of general economic or political conditions, fluctuations in exchange rates or interest rates, increases or changes in competition, Ahold’s ability to implement and successfully complete its plans and strategies, the benefits from and resources generated by Ahold’s plans and strategies being less than or different from those anticipated, changes in Ahold’s liquidity needs, the actions of competitors and third parties and other factors discussed in Ahold’s public filings and other disclosures. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Ahold does not assume any obligation to update any public information or forward-looking statements in this press release to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as may be required by applicable laws. Outside the Netherlands, Koninklijke Ahold N.V., being its registered name, presents itself under the name of
“Royal Ahold” or simply “Ahold.”

Download

Download the full report, the analyst presentation and the Annual Report 2014:

Ahold presents update of the company’s online retail strategy to analysts and investors, November 17-18

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2014-11-17— /EPR Retail News/ — Today and tomorrow, Ahold’s senior management will present an update of the company’s online retail strategy to analysts and investors.

Ahold’s management will announce that the company’s online sales are expected to reach €1.4 billion* by the end of 2014; and the company will present an ambition of €2.5* billion in online sales by the end of 2017.

With trusted consumer brands, leadership in its markets, millions of loyal customers, and its physical store network, Ahold has a strong foundation. In the past 25 years, the company has created a robust set of strengths to serve customers anyhow, anytime, and anywhere. To stay in the forefront of omni-channel retail, Ahold has invested in technology, marketing and online capabilities. Following the acquisition of bol.com in 2012, the company now employs over 1,000 IT experts, based in four technology hubs in the U.S. and the Netherlands.

Commenting on Ahold’s online retail strategy, CEO Dick Boer said: “Our online brands bol.com, Peapod.com and ah.nl have played a pioneering role over the past 25 years. Today, we announce the next stage of our ambition, aiming for a growth in online sales to €2.5* billion by the end of 2017. This growth will be supported by an incremental EBIT investment of €60 million in the period 2015 until 2017. We offer a great omni-channel proposition for our customers, creating a strong platform for continued future growth and long-term value creation.”

Ahold’s online growth strategy has three elements: “more customers,” benefitting from general market growth and driving share growth; “more places,” expanding into new regions; and “more choices,” expanding the offering for customers and partners.

The Online Strategy Event begins at 5.30pm CET at the offices of bol.com in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Presentations from the two-day event will be available to view on the company’s website at www.ahold.com

*Consumer sales

Presentations

Cautionary notice

This press release includes forward-looking statements, which do not refer to historical facts but refer to expectations based on management’s current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those included in such statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements as to market-leadership, online business, including but not limited to sales and investments as part thereof, Ahold’s online strategy and its basic elements customers, market growth, market share, geographical expansion and offering. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Many of these risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond Ahold’s ability to control or estimate precisely, such as discussed in Ahold’s public filings and other disclosures. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Koninklijke Ahold N.V. does not assume any obligation to update any public information or forward-looking statements in this release to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as may be required by law. Outside the Netherlands, Koninklijke Ahold N.V., being its registered name, presents itself under the name of “Royal Ahold” or simply “Ahold”.

Ahold’s Chief Corporate Governance Counsel Lodewijk Hijmans van den Bergh to step down during the first half of 2015

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2014-10-14— /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold today announced that Lodewijk Hijmans van den Bergh, Chief Corporate Governance Counsel and member of the Management Board and Executive Committee, will step down during the first half of 2015.

Lodewijk joined Ahold on December 1, 2009, and his responsibilities include Ahold’s Legal Affairs, Corporate Governance, M&A, Product Integrity, and the company’s Responsible Retailing strategy.

Dick Boer, Ahold CEO, said: “On behalf of the Management Board and Executive Committee, I would like to thank Lodewijk for over 5 years of excellent service, during which he has successfully resolved some of the key legacy issues of Ahold. During his tenure, Lodewijk actively contributed to the development and execution of Ahold’s strategic agenda, including the ICA divestment, the acquisition of bol.com, and the recent acquisition of SPAR in the Czech Republic. Lodewijk has also played a pivotal role in developing Ahold’s Responsible Retailing strategy. Following these accomplishments, we agreed that this is the right time to change the legal role within Ahold. We wish Lodewijk all the very best for the future.”

Rob van den Bergh, Chairman of Ahold’s Supervisory Board said: “On behalf of all my Supervisory Board colleagues, I would like to thank Lodewijk for the significant contribution he has made to the company, and wish him every success in his new endeavors.”

The process of finding Lodewijk’s successor will commence and a further announcement will be made in due course.

Cautionary notice

This press release includes forward-looking statements, which do not refer to historical facts but refer to expectations based on management’s current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those included in such statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Many of these risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond Ahold’s ability to control or estimate precisely, such as discussed in Ahold’s public filings and other disclosures. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Koninklijke Ahold N.V. does not assume any obligation to update any public information or forward-looking statements in this release to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as may be required by law. Outside the Netherlands, Koninklijke Ahold N.V., being its registered name, presents itself under the name of “Royal Ahold” or simply “Ahold”.

Ahold included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indices (DJSI) for the sixth consecutive year

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2014-9-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold’s position as a responsible retailer has been confirmed, following its inclusion on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indices (DJSI).

Published today, the ranking recognizes the progress that Ahold has made in recent years with its Reshaping Retail strategy. Ahold scored an average of 75 (out of 100) in the Food & Staples Retailing sector in 2014 – improving on last year’s 74, and compared to an industry average of 48, with the sector lead scoring 76. This is the sixth consecutive year that Ahold has been included on the DJSI.

The company scored particularly high in a number of areas, including supply chain management practices, carbon emissions and waste reduction programs, and its active contribution to the health and safety of associates by offering multiple health and well-being programs.

Ahold CEO Dick Boer commented: “Responsible retailing is a fundamental element of our Reshaping Retail strategy and today’s recognition, which should make all of our 220,000 associates proud, fuels our ambition to be a better place to shop, a better place to work and a better neighbor, every day.”

Launched in 1999 as the first global sustainability benchmarks, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices track the performance of the world’s leading companies in terms of economic, environmental and social criteria. The indices serve as benchmarks for investors who integrate sustainability considerations into their portfolios, and provide an effective engagement platform for companies who want to adopt sustainable best practices.

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Ahold included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indices (DJSI) for the sixth consecutive year