Interim Report, Axfood AB (publ.) for the period 1 January - 30 June 2002
* Consolidated sales amounted to SEK 16,197 m (15,738), an increase of 2.9%.
* Operating profit increased by slightly more than 30% compared with the same
period a year ago, to SEK 450 m (338). The Willys chain, Dagab and Axfood
Närlivs made the strongest earnings contributions.
* Profit after net financial items increased by SEK 122 m, to SEK 395 m (273).
* Profit for the period includes a net capital gain of SEK 25 m on sales of real
* The new Willys Hemma discount concept opened 36 units during the period.
Key figures Jan.-June April-June Jan.-Dec.Mkr 2002 2001 2002 2001 2001Net sales 16,197 15,738 8,207 8,143 32,428Operating profit before 709 575 345 313 1,171depreciationOperating profit1 450 338 216 193 653Operating margin, % 2.8% 2.1% 2.6% 2.3% 2.0%Profit after financial 395 273 190 162 527itemsProfit after tax 260 177 130 106 328Earnings per share, m SEK 4.88 3.33 2.44 1.99 6.16Equity ratio, % 19.2% 16.2% - - 17.0%Return on capital 21.2% 11.8% - - 17.3%employed, %Return on shareholders' 34.6% 18.1% - - 31.8%equity after tax,%Net asset value per share 24.86 19.73 - - 22.70
1. Operating profit for the year includes a net capital gain of SEK 25 m on
sales of real estate.
The Axfood Group's operations during the first half of 2002 were characterised
by a strong earnings trend. Willys, Dagab, Axfood Närlivs and Spar Finland are
showing the best development. The Willys chain is increasing its market share,
and the intensive debate during the spring on lower food prices in Sweden has
led to greater awareness of the chain and contributed to its favourable
development. We see that consumers are increasingly turning to discount
alternatives. Accordingly, Axfood has complemented its discount offering through
the launch of Willys Hemma.
This concept, which is entirely new for the Swedish market, consists of small
stores in residential areas. Willys Hemma has established 36 stores in a short
period of time.
Our wholly owned stores are steadily increasing the portion of their purchasing
from Dagab, giving us opportunities for continued streamlining of the product
assortment. This can lead to further improvements in Dagab's efficiency.
Spar Finland improved its category management and purchasing during the first
half of the year, resulting in a considerable earnings improvement.
Hemköp's work on reversing its volume and earnings trend continues. A new
pricing strategy and new business hours in the chain's test regions are showing
improved sales and earnings.
The forecast for the Group's earnings in 2002, entailing an improvement compared
with 2001, remains.
President and CEO
Important events during the first half of the year
* The new Willys Hemma chain opened 36 stores.
* Axfood's sales of private label products increased, accounting for 6.3% of
total sales at the half-year mark. The increase can be attributed to the
successful introduction of the Willys brand.
* The changeover of Dagab's distribution has been completed in large part,
leading to efficiency improvements. The changeover will be fully completed by
the fourth quarter.
Volume growth for Sweden's retail food sector during the first half of 2002 is
estimated at 2.1%. Retail food prices in Sweden rose 4.4%. In
Finland, volume growth was 2.1% for the period January-May.
Sales and earnings of the Axfood Group
Consolidated wholesale and retail sales for the Axfood Group for the period 1
January - 30 June amounted to SEK 16,197 m (15,738), an increase of 2.9%. Sales
for retail operations owned by Axfood in Sweden increased by 10.4%.
The Axfood Group's sales in Sweden during the first half (in own and
collaborating stores), including VAT, amounted to SEK 17,126 m (17,107), an
increase of 0.1%.
Operating profit for the period amounted to SEK 450 m (338). The operating
margin was 2.8% (2.1%). Operating profit included a net capital gain of SEK 25 m
on sales of real estate.
Net financial items amounted to SEK -55 m (-65). Profit after financial items
was SEK 395 m (273). The margin after financial items was 2.4% (1.7%).
The Axfood Group's store operations are conducted via the wholly owned retail
chains Hemköp, Willys and Willys Hemma. The Group collaborates with independent
grocers via the Spar and Tempo franchise concepts. Vivo Stockholm is run via a
separate economic association. The grocers in this chain are customers of
Axfood's wholesaling operation. The Vivo brand is owned by Axfood.
Hemköp's work on improving the efficiency of its store operations and enhancing
its customer offering continues. Development work is in progress at Hemköp on
improving the chain's large stores. The first pilot store will be opening during
the third quarter. Hemköp streamlined its work processes during the first half
of the year, resulting in approximately 300 fewer full-time employees.
Sales during the first half amounted to SEK 3,132 m (3,210). Same-store sales
decreased by 2.6%. Operating profit (EBIT) was SEK 62 m (73). The operating
margin for the period was 2.0% (2.3%).
During the period, five stores were converted to other concepts in the Group,
five were closed, and one was acquired. Hemköp now has 97 stores.
Willys is Axfood's chain of large discount stores. The chain comprises 65
stores, of which 27 are still working under the Exet/Matex brand.
Conversion of these stores to Willys and the establishment of a homogenous
Willys chain is proceeding according to plan.
Sales during the period for wholly owned stores amounted to SEK 3,963 m (3,184).
The increase for same stores was 8.7%. Profit (EBIT) totalled SEK 142 m (115).
The operating margin was 3.6% (3.6%).
During the first half three stores were converted from other concepts within the
Group, three were closed, two were acquired, and one new store was
Willys Hemma is Axfood's discount chain in the neighbourhood store segment.
Willys Hemma was launched in February and had 36 stores at the end of the first
half. The chain's launch is proceeding according to plan. During the start-up
period, earnings have been charged with conversion costs of slightly more than
SEK 10 m.
Sales for Willys Hemma amounted to SEK 512 m (494) during the period, an
increase of 3.6%. A loss (EBIT) of SEK -12 m (+10) was reported for the period.
The operating margin was negative (+2.0%).
During the first half 29 stores were converted from the HP chain, two were
converted from other concepts within the Group, and five were acquired.
Axfood's collaboration with independent grocers is coordinated in Axfood
Franchise and the two store concepts Spar and Tempo. The Spar chain comprised
126 stores at the end of the second quarter.
Axfood Franchise is reported under joint-Group items. Profit (EBIT) for the
period was SEK 12 m (13).
Change of store structure - Group-owned stores in Sweden, second quarter 2002
Sales/ Conversions Dec. '01 Acquisitions closures to/from June '02Hemköp 106 1 -5 -5 97Willys 62 3 -3 3 65Willys Hemma 29 5 - 2 36Spar Finland 77 4 -3 - 78Spar 1 - - - 1 275 277
Axfood Partihandel (wholesaling)
Axfood's wholesaling operations (Dagab and Axfood Närlivs) posted sales of SEK
9,925 m (8,877) during the first half.
Dagab's sales during the period amounted to SEK 8,598 m (7,057). The sales
increase is partly due to higher invoicing of directly distributed products
during the first half, to SEK 1,801 m (918), and partly to a higher portion of
purchasing from Dagab by Axfood's wholly owned stores. Dagab's profit (EBIT)
amounted to SEK 131 m (107). The operating margin was 1.5% (1.5%).
The changeover of distribution initiated during the first quarter has now been
completed in essential respects and is expected to yield annual savings of SEK
20 m starting in 2003. From having been previously chain- steered, distribution
is now geographically-steered.
Axfood Närlivs, with customers in the convenience store segment, grew its sales
by 4.1% during the first half of the year, to SEK 2,301 m (2,210). Profit (EBIT)
was SEK 42 m (32). The operating margin was 1.8% (1.4%).
Spar Finland Abp consists of 78 wholly owned stores and 227 collaborating
stores. The Spar Group has an approximate 9% share of the Finnish retail food
Spar Finland's work on systematising purchasing and the product range in its
stores has led to significant earnings improvements. The chain has also focused
on reducing shrinkage in the stores. A price increase effected during the first
quarter has also contributed to the earnings improvement.
Sales during the first half amounted to SEK 2,748 m (2,760), and profit (EBIT)
was SEK 20 m (0). The operating margin for the period was 0.7% (0.0%).
Capital expenditures during the first half amounted to SEK 224 m. Of these,
investments in fixed assets in the wholesaling operations and in the store
network in Sweden accounted for SEK 190 m, and investments in fixed assets by
Spar Finland for SEK 34 m. In addition, shares in subsidiaries were acquired for
SEK 14 m. During the period, Axfood sold real estate, which made net
contribution of SEK 25 m to earnings. At the end of the period, Axfood
Fastigheter's real estate portfolio had a book value of SEK 484 m.
Cash flow from continuing operations amounted to SEK 594 m (500) during the
first half. Lending by Handelskredit decreased by SEK 79 m and amounted to SEK
270 m (445) at the end of the period. The Group's liquid assets totalled SEK 392
m (282). Interest-bearing assets amounted to SEK 636 m (694) at the end of the
period. Interest-bearing net debt decreased by SEK 531 m, to SEK 1,412 m (1,943)
at the end of the period.
The debt-equity ratio, net, was 1 (1.6) at the end of the period.
The equity ratio was 19.2% (16.2%).
The Axfood Group had 8,082 (8,625) full-time employees at the end of the second
quarter. The number of employees in the Hemköp chain has decreased by
approximately 300 full-time positions. Of the Group's total workforce, slightly
more than 5,000 employees worked in stores.
Other operating revenue for the Parent Company amounted to SEK 15 m (13) during
the period. After administrative expenses of SEK 42 m and net financial items of
SEK -13 m, profit after financial items was SEK -40 m (-36). Capital
expenditures totalled SEK 1 m (-).
The Group applies the accounting recommendations that took effect on 1
January 2002. In other respects, the same accounting principles and calculation
methods used in the 2001 Annual Report have been applied.
The next reporting date will be 23 October 2002.
Stockholm, 1 August 2002
Axfood AB (publ.)
The Board of Directors