Ahold Delhaize online sales soar amid global pandemic

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Soaring online sales amid the global coronavirus pandemic boosted global retailer Ahold Delhaize’s earnings in the third quarter, the company said Wednesday.

Net sales at the company which owns the Stop & Shop, Food Lion and Hannaford stores in the United States reached 17.8 billion euros ($20.8 billion), up 6.8%, or 10.1% at constant exchange rates, from the same quarter a year ago.

Net profit in the quarter was down 84.9% to 68 million euros due mainly to a 577 million-euro provision for a U.S. pension plan withdrawal. Underlying profit from continuing operations rose 8.6% to 530 million euros.

Net consumer online sales rose 62.6% at constant exchange rates to 1.78 billion euros. Growth in the United States was even higher at 114.7%.

Costs associated with the coronavirus were around 140 million euros in the third quarter, taking pandemic-related costs to 470 million euros for the year so far.

“As COVID-19 continues to impact our communities, I am increasingly proud of our teams’ performance,” CEO Frans Muller said.

The company raised its outlook for underlying earnings per share, saying it now expects growth to be in the “high-20% range.”

“While there remains a high level of uncertainty in the market, our strong year-to-date performance allows us to raise our 2020 underlying (earnings per share) outlook once again,” Muller said.

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