SOURCE: Delhaize Group

January 14, 2010 02:22 ET

Delhaize Group Announces 2009 Revenues, 2010 Expansion Plans and a New More Efficient U.S. Operational Structure

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM--(Marketwire - January 14, 2010) -

-- Full Year 2009 Results

  * Revenue growth of 2.6 % at identical exchange rates (excl. 53rd week in
  * Comparable store sales growth of -0.4% in the U.S. and 2.7% in Belgium
  * Confirmation of 2009 earnings guidance, excluding a 4th quarter charge
    of EUR 44 million (pre-tax) for the U.S. restructuring, store closings
    and store impairments

-- Fourth Quarter 2009 Revenues

  * Revenue growth of 1.5% at identical exchange rates (excl. 53rd week in
  * Comparable store sales growth of -2.8% in the U.S. and 2.6% in Belgium,
    with better volume trends compared to last year in a highly
    deflationary U.S. environment

-- Solid 2010 Initiatives to Support New Game Plan

  * Restructuring of U.S. operations into an organization operating unique
    and strong banners supported by a common shared services structure
  * Closing of 15 underperforming Food Lion stores and one underperforming
    Bloom store
  * Strong investment program of approximately EUR 800 million in 2010,
    including 120 to 130 store openings and approximately 100 store

-- CEO Comments

Pierre-Olivier Beckers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Delhaize Group: "During the fourth quarter of 2009, we continued to see volume trend improvements compared with last year in all our operations due to our price investments and strong marketing campaigns, while cycling the highest inflation of the previous year. As a result of our successful commercial initiatives and continued cost management, we confirm our 2009 earnings guidance excluding the restructuring, store closing and impairment charge during the 4(th) quarter."

"In 2010, we will start the implementation of our New Game Plan with special focus on increased price investments and other sales building initiatives, accelerated store openings and remodels, and more cost reductions. In this context, we are implementing a completely new U.S. operational structure with the creation of one integrated organization with common shared services. These changes will allow increased flexibility, better service to our local banners and major cost savings. Simultaneously, we also decided to close 15 underperforming Food Lion stores and 1 underperforming Bloom store, a decision that will favorably impact our operating profit from 2010 onwards."

"The new U.S. restructuring plan, just like the Belgian Excel Plan, is a critical element of the recently announced New Game Plan which will fund key initiatives such as major price investments as well as our accelerated store opening and remodel programs. In 2010, our Group plans to open between 120 and 130 new stores and to remodel approximately 100 stores. All of these initiatives should position Delhaize Group to emerge from these difficult economic times not only as the highly profitable food retailer it is already today, but also as a much faster growing food retailer."


Guy Elewaut:
+ 32 2 412 29 48

Amy  Shue
(U.S. investors):
+1 704 633 8250 (ext. 2529)

Geert Verellen:
+ 32 2 412 83 62

Barbera Hoppenbrouwers
+ 32 2 412 86 69

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