Major Food Retailers Post Solid Comps In Most Recent Financials

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In 2018, the Ahold USA and Delhaize America segments will be combined in financial reports, reflecting governance structure.

Said Boer: “We are investing to make shopping more convenient, introducing new technologies to improve the customer experience and further ease the checkout process, as we live up to our promise to be a better place to shop. We are also stepping up our focus on fresh inspiration as customers are increasing looking for healthier options, organic products and locally growth produce, which will help us to reach our target of 50 percent healthy products in own-brands sales by 2020.”

Ahold Delhaize, which trades on Euronext, reported a share price of 18.44 euro ($22.90) at presstime on March 7, versus 15.16 euro ($18.83) six month ago on September 7, 2017.

At Target, strong traffic growth in both stores and digital drove a fourth quarter comparable sales increase of 3.6 percent. Despite solid sales increases, Target’s earnings were down from $1.34 billion to $1.15 billion in its fourth quarter ended January 28, 2018. However, on an adjusted basis, the Minneapolis, MN based mass merchant said earnings per share were $2.02 as compared to $1.45 in 2017.

Traffic grew 3.2 percent in Target’s fourth quarter, reflecting healthy increases in both stores and digital channels. Fourth quarter comp digital channel sales increased 29 percent, on top of 34 percent last year, contributing 1.8 percentage points of comparable growth.

“Our fourth quarter results demonstrate the power of the significant investments we’ve made in our team and our business throughout 2017. Our team’s outstanding execution of Target’s strategic initiatives during the year delivered strong fourth quarter traffic growth in our stores and digital channels, which drove healthy comparable sales in every one of our five core merchandise categories,” said Target chairman and CEO Brian Cornell. “While we have a lot left to accomplish, our progress in 2017 gives us confidence that we are making the right long-term investments to best position Target for profitable growth in a rapidly changing consumer and retail investment.”

On March 7, Target’s shares were trading at $71.43 compared to $57.29 on September 7, 2017.

Lakeland, FL based Publix Super Markets also enjoyed comp store sales growth in its fourth quarter ended December 30, 2017, seeing an improvement of 3.2 percent over the same quarter last year. Sales for the fourth quarter were $8.9 billion, a 2.1 percent decline from last year’s $9.1 billion. However, excluding the extra week in the fourth quarter of 2016, sales for the fourth quarter of 2017 would have grown 5 percent, the company said.

Earnings for the fourth quarter of 2017, a 13-week period, were $766.6 million, versus $544.5 million in 2016’s fourth quarter, a 40.8 percent increase.

Net earnings for the fiscal year were $2.3 billion, compared with $2 billion in the 53-week fiscal 2016, a 13.1 percent increase. Sales in 2017 were $34.6 billion, a 1.6 percent increase from $34 billion in fiscal 2016; without the additional week in 2016, sales for 2017 would have risen 3.5 percent. Comps for the full-year were up 1.7 percent.

Publix is controlled by an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) and its stock isn’t publicly traded – it is sold only to current associates and members of the board of directors, but its value is reported. In March 2018, its stock is valued at $41.40 per share versus $36.05 per share in September of 2017.

“I’m delighted that we had a significant increase in our stock price,” said Publix CEO and president Todd Jones. “I’m proud of our associate owners for their dedicated service to our customers and communities.”

Issaquah, WA based Costco posted double-digit sales and income gains in its second quarter ended February 18, 2018.  Net sales for the period rose 10.8 percent, to $32.28 billion from the year ago period. Comparable-store sales, excluding the impact of fuel and currency changes, rose 5.4 percent.

Quarterly income rose 36 percent to $701 million from 2017. Earnings per share rose $0.17 due to a net income tax benefit of $74 million reflecting the new tax laws. Excluding the benefit, net income grew 22 percent. E-commerce sales jumped 28.5 percent to $1.5 billion, boosted by site traffic gains, higher conversion rates and more merchandise orders.

On March 7, 2018, shares in Costco were trading at $185.69, compared to $159.28 on September 7, 2017.