Ahold Delhaize, the parent company of the Albert Heijn supermarket group booked record sales in 2020, as closed cafes and restaurants sent more people to food stores and online shopping grew.
Total turnover hit €74.7bn, up almost 13% on 2019. Ahold Delhaize generates some two thirds of its annual sales in the US.
Net profit fell from €1.8bn to €1.4bn, due in part to investments being brought forward and an extra €1.4bn injection into the Giant Food and Stop & Shop pension schemes, the company said.
In the Netherlands, Bol.com benefited in particular from the lockdown, with year on year sales rising 70% in the final quarter of the year. In total, Bol.com turnover hit €4.3bn, compared with a target of €3.5bn. This year, the Dutch online retailer is targeting sales of €5bn.
Alhold Delhaize chief executive Frans Muller said that coronavirus had also brought extra costs, and that €680m has been spend on hiring extra staff, staff and shopper security and on paying sick workers in the US.
‘In 2020, the effects of COVID-19 and social unrest deeply impacted the communities we serve, and created unprecedented challenges for the Ahold Delhaize brands,’ he said.
Continuity uncertainty will again be significant this year, because of the ongoing pandemic, he said.