Ahold Delhaize is giving new meaning to the phrase “finishing the year out strong.” In addition to reporting strong fourth quarter results for 2018, the international retailer made key announcements that position it to take on a few leading players like duo Kroger and Ocado.
Frans Muller, President and CEO, and Jeff Carr, CFO, revealed in a webcast with analysts that the retailer would be revamping its Stop & Shop banner, which includes the addition of more micro-fulfillment centers.
“With our Leading Together strategy in place, our focus turns to further strengthening our great local brands by accelerating investments in omnichannel growth, technology, and a healthy and sustainable offering to customers…We are excited about the program to refresh the look and feel of our Stop & Shop brand and the rapid expansion of our Click and Collect options for our customers,” said Muller.
Carr took shots at Ocado by adding: “The beauty of these centers is that they can be added much more quickly than an Ocado type of large-scale capital investment.”
The fulfillment centers are slated to arrive in 2019, with the retailer already making plans for further expansion in 2020. The new facilities join Stop & Shop’s first micro-fulfillment center in Hartford, Connecticut.
As robotics continue to change the face of grocery retail, Ahold Delhaize is making sure it is as the head of the pack, implementing what it has deemed the largest deployment of robotics in grocery stores in the world. While Ahold did not specify what this entails, it’s safe to assume that the retailer will only continue to introduce innovations like its produce delivery ‘bots, as reported on by our sister site AndNowUKnow.
Ahold Delhaize also reported highlights from its fourth quarter, which included the following:
"For the full year we delivered a strong free cash flow of €2.3 billion ($2.6 billion), supported by further improvements in net working capital. We expect free cash flow for 2019 of around €2.0 billion ($2.2 billion), with capital expenditure of €2.0 billion,” Muller added in regard to Ahold Delhaize’s full year financial results. “In 2018, we essentially completed the merger integration process and delivered on the synergies we promised. At the same time, we continued our strong business performance, while investing in meeting the needs of our customers in a rapidly changing industry. Today, Ahold Delhaize is fit for the future, with a very robust financial profile and the right structure to further grow our brands, both in-store and online.”
To read Ahold Delhaize’s quarterly report and listen to its analyst webcast, click here.
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