business news in context, analysis with attitude

Bloomberg reports that Ahold Delhaize said yesterday that it plans to buy back $1.1 billion worth of stock and "will plow money into online expansion as its cash reserves swell following the merger of the Dutch and Belgian retailers."

According to the story, Ahold Delhaize "aims to double online sales by 2020," from the $2.5 billion (US) that it expects to do globally online this year.

Bloomberg writes that "the supermarket operator’s profits have been dented by food deflation in the U.S., yet that headwind should diminish in the second half of 2017 as prices of milk, eggs and meat recover, CEO Dick Boer said on a call with reporters. Any inflation spurred by President-elect Donald Trump’s infrastructure spending plans could also benefit the retail industry, he said, adding it’s too early to give any specific forecast."

In other company news, Ahold USA said yesterday that it has "received a score of 95 on the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation."

The company said that the score "reflects a commitment to LGBT workplace equality, with respect to tangible policies, benefits, and practices. As part of the company’s commitment to being a better place to work, Ahold USA and its retail divisions, Stop & Shop New England, Stop & Shop New York Metro, Giant Landover, Giant Carlisle and online grocer Peapod, have an equal employment opportunity policy which includes sexual orientation and gender identity and expression for all operations and equivalent benefits for different-sex spouses and same-sex partners or spouses."
KC's View:
Good for Ahold Delhaize on both counts. I think they are smart to focus on and invest in online, and I'm happy to see it being recognized for what I believe are socially responsible policies that create a more sustainable business model.