(Reuters) - Supermarket group Ahold Delhaize expects to grow underlying earnings per share and increase savings over the 2025-2028 period, it said on Thursday, as it plans to boost digitalisation and the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

The group, which operates the Stop & Shop, Giant, Food Lion and Hannaford chains in the United States and the Albert Heijn and Delhaize chains in the Netherlands and Belgium, is targeting underlying earnings per share at a high-single-digit compound annual growth rate compared to 2024.

The group, which also runs the Netherlands' largest webshop Bol.com, said it expects 5 billion euros in cumulative savings by applying AI and automation in its logistics, distribution, store operations and back office, while steering loyalty-scheme customers towards its apps.

"We intend to funnel loyalty customers from physical cards to our digital-apps, which should yield a rapid increase in monthly active users where we target 30 million by 2028," the group said in a statement.

The group beat first-quarter core profit margin expectations and confirmed its guidance for 2024 earlier this month, helped by European performance, while expressing confidence that volumes would recover later this year amid slowing inflation.

(Reporting by Federica Mileo; Editing by Tomasz Janowski, Kirsten Donovan)