Delhaize to lay off 350 corporate employees

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 5, 2013

SALISBURY — Delhaize America, the parent company of Food Lion, will lay off about 350 corporate employees as part of a continuing reorganization that started in December with the ouster of Cathy Green Burns as Food Lion president.
All layoffs will be above the store manager level, according to an internal email sent by Roland Smith, CEO of Delhaize America, on Tuesday to employees. The memo did not specify how many Food Lion employees will lose their jobs, and a spokeswoman said Tuesday afternoon she could not give details by company.
Delhaize America, which is based in Salisbury along with Food Lion, owns several other grocery chains, including Bottom Dollar Food, also headquartered in Salisbury.
Employees will know by Feb. 12 if they will lose their job. In total, Delhaize America is eliminating 500 positions, including 150 open positions.
Supervisors will begin having conversations with their employees soon, spokeswoman Christy Phillips-Brown said.
Last month, Delhaize America cut 25 percent of high-level leadership positions and internally unveiled a new organization structure that includes 50 officers. Fifteen executives lost their jobs in the leadership shake-up.
Today’s layoff announcement continues the new strategy.
“As previously announced, Delhaize America has been focused on implementing a new organizational structure that enables the company to operate more effectively and efficiently,” Phillips-Brown said. “In support of this continued work, the company has made a number of organizational changes across Delhaize America, which will be communicated to associates this week.”
The decisions were carefully considered and made with the ultimate goal of serving customers, growing business and creating shareholder value, she said.
Phillips-Brown said she could not say how many people who work in Salisbury will lose their jobs. Delhaize America employs about 100,000 people overall.
Out of respect for associates to be informed this week, the company cannot elaborate further, she said.
Last month’s cuts of top management came as part of Delhaize America’s continuing efforts to reduce costs across the company and increase efficiency.
The company initiated an effort last summer to significantly reduce non-production costs and bring the ratio of costs to revenue in line with market standards, with plans to reinvest the savings in stores.
“Despite best intentions and efforts, our cost-saving targets were not achieved,” Smith said in a Jan. 11 memo.
About 80 percent of Delhaize America officers are located in Salisbury, and Smith has moved the Delhaize America CEO office back to Salisbury from Scarborough, Maine.
Food Lion, which makes up the lion’s share of Delhaize, has struggled, closing 113 underperforming stores last year and pulling out of Florida.
Read more in Wednesday’s Post.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.