Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV's (AD.AE) sales grew in the fourth quarter of 2017, helped by a strong performance in its U.S. divisions, the Dutch company said Wednesday.
The international grocer, which was formed in 2016 through the combination of Royal Ahold and Delhaize Group, said net sales stood at 15.8 billion euros ($19.38 billion) for the last three months of the year, up 1.6% on the year-earlier period at constant foreign-exchange rates. This compares with a consensus estimate of EUR15.72 billion, based on estimates by nine analysts polled by FactSet.
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On a pro-forma basis, fourth-quarter sales rose 2.5% at constant currency rates, Ahold Delhaize said.
In the U.S., the main source of revenue for the company, comparable sales increased by 0.6% at Ahold USA, while Delhaize America recorded a 1.5% rise in sales, the retailer said. Ahold Delhaize owns brands such as Giant, Food Lion, Hannaford and Martin's in the country.
Comparable sales grew 6% in the Netherlands, the second-biggest market for the company, Ahold said. The company added that this strong performance benefited from a favorable calendar impact at the end of the year.
Ahold Delhaize also said it anticipates its full-year free-cash flow to be significantly ahead of expectations, due to improved working-capital performance and lower-than-expected expenditures. In November, the company guided for a free cash flow of EUR1.6 billion.
The grocer confirmed its guidance for a pro-forma underlying operating margin of 3.9% in 2017.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 24, 2018 01:24 ET (06:24 GMT)