Albertsons has reported strong numbers for its fourth quarter and full year of fiscal 2018.
The Boise, Idaho-based operator of more than 2,200 supermarkets revealed that its same-store sales have increased 1.1 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively, while its own brands reached sales penetration of more than 25 percent in the fourth quarter.
"We are very pleased with the trends in our business as demonstrated by our strong results in the fourth quarter and full year," Jim Donald, president and CEO, said in an earnings call, according to Supermarket News. "This performance in our core four-wall business is helping fund necessary investments into the business in both the four-wall and no-wall environments. We continue to deliver the balance sheet with a total net debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio of 3.5x at the end of fiscal 2018, and have a clear path for further reduction."
In addition, Albertsons reported eCommerce sales growth of 52 percent and 83 percent during the fourth quarter and full year.
“We continue to make investments in and expand our capabilities in eCommerce, digital marketing and loyalty programs to provide value to our customers and to drive sales,” said Donald. “We also expanded our drive-up and go pickup service to over 250 stores by the end of the fiscal year. We also have expanded our fast delivery through Instacart, which allows our customers to have access to same-day delivery in as little as an hour. And we continue to make data-driven, personalized offers to our customers, which we have expanded to all markets.”
Donald added that the company's own brands "continue to deliver on innovation with over 1,100 new item introductions in fiscal 2018. Open Nature, our brand that encompasses natural products free from ingredients like antibiotics and MSG and O Organics, our organic brand, continued to deliver strong sales growth, posting a 13.9 percent sales increase for the two combined brands in the fourth quarter compared to last year and 13.6 percent for the full year.”
The news comes as Donald is stepping down this week from his role of president and CEO after seven months on the job. He will be replaced by Vivek Sankaran, but will stay on as co-chairman of the board, along with Leonard Laufer.