Ahold 2002 sales rise 9.2 per cent
Supermarket giant reports challenging year
January 7 2003
Supermarket operator Ahold has reported a 9.2 per cent rise in sales to €72.7 bn for 2002.
In what the Netherlands-based company described as an “increasingly challenging” year, Ahold’s organic sales growth, a measure which includes like-for-like sales with growth in acquired businesses also factored in, was 3.2 per cent.
As expected, Ahold has been hit by the impact of lower currency rates, including a poor exchange rate with the US Dollar and the devaluation of the Argentine Peso and the Brazilian Real, affecting income from its South American businesses. Earnings per share for the year are expected to decline by around 6 per cent to 8 per cent.
Organic retail sales growth over the year was 4.8 per cent in the US, 5 per cent in Europe and 5.6 per cent in South America.
In the fourth quarter of 2002, sales amounted to €16.9bn, a 0.3 per cent increase over the €16.8bn generated in 2001. Organic sales growth in the fourth quarter was 2.5 per cent, compared to 4 per cent in 2001.
Ahold president & CEO Cees van der Hoeven said: “2002 was a year of increasingly challenging trading conditions. Sales slowed in the course of the year as a consequence of further deteriorating economic circumstances. However, we are encouraged by the fact that we strengthened our position in most markets. Compared to the third quarter, all regions showed slightly better organic sales growth. As announced on November 19, 2002, Ahold launched a three-year company-wide initiative focused on portfolio rationalization and debt reduction. This initiative is on track and we will comment periodically during the course of this year.”
Ahold operates around 9,000 supermarkets, hypermarkets and convenience stores in 27 countries on four continents.
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