Zaandam, the Netherlands - Ahold today published its interim report for the second quarter and first half of 2014.
Q2 sales* of €7.4 billion down 1.1%, affected by the timing of Easter
Strong online Q2 sales, up 18.6% to €273 million on an identical basis
Q2 underlying operating margin 3.9%, reflecting pressure on volumes and price investments
Program to improve customer proposition in the U.S. rolled out to a total of 320 stores
European reorganization implemented, resulting in a €29 million restructuring charge
Acquisition of SPAR stores in the Czech Republic completed
* at constant exchange rates
CEO Dick Boer said: "In a challenging competitive environment, we remain focused on executing our Reshaping Retail strategy and continue to make investments in our customer and value offering, making our stores a better place to shop.
"In the United States, the roll-out of our program to improve our customer proposition is progressing well, bringing better quality, service and value to our customers. By the end of this quarter, the program was active in 320 stores and will be rolled out to more than half of our stores by the end of this year. The accelerated roll out of the program together with our decision to absorb commodity price increases resulted in an investment in margin that was partly offset by cost savings from our Simplicity program.
"In Europe, as part of our Simplicity program, we implemented a reorganization of our head office support roles to improve efficiency. In addition, we streamlined Albert Heijn's commercial organization to enable a greater focus on improving quality and value for our customers and successfully introduced new products, especially in fresh.
"We expect that ongoing investments in our customer proposition and further development of our product range across multiple categories will result in improving sales trends."
Please follow this link to watch a video interview with Dick Boer, Ahold CEO.
Full Q2 2014 Report and Q2 2014 Presentation attached as PDF to this message.
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Source: Ahold via Globenewswire