Food Lion sales up, eight more stores closing

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 17, 2013

SALISBURY — Food Lion’s parent company, Belgium-based Delhaize Group, today announced an uptick in sales boosted in part by revamping Food Lion stores in the U.S.

Delhaize’s sales were up 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, including a 1.9 percent growth in U.S. sales.

Also today, a spokeswoman for Delhaize America confirmed the company will close eight underperforming Food Lion stores, including one in Belmont, three in South Carolina and four in Virginia. Delhaize closed 113 Food Lion stores last year and pulled out of Florida.

Delhaize America also will close 33 underperforming Sweetbay Supermarket stores, all in Florida, Christy Phillips-Brown said today.

Food Lion and Delhaize America are headquartered in Salisbury. Sweetbay is based in Florida.

“We are pleased to announce that organic revenue growth improved during the fourth quarter, in particular as a result of positive volume growth at Delhaize America,” Pierre-Olivier Beckers, president and CEO of Delhaize Group said today in a statement. “Food Lion reported positive volume, transaction and comparable store sales growth for the quarter and recorded its best quarterly performance since 2006.”

Food Lion began revamping stores in 2011 and has completed 703 makeovers so far. The company has more than 1,100 stores total.

New Delhaize America CEO recently shook up upper management at Food Lion, removing Cathy Green Burns as president and two senior vice presidents based in Salisbury. Fifteen Food Lion and Delhaize America officers lost their jobs last week, including nine based in Salisbury.

In today’s fourth-quarter earnings report, Delhaize Group said Food Lion stores generated sales and volume growth on a comparable-store basis. Price cuts at Hannaford and new Bottom Dollar Food — Food Lion’s sister chains — helped volume at those banners, Delhaize Group said.

Read more in Friday’s Post.