Delhaize moves ahead with New Game Plan

120 to 130 stores to open this year

SALISBURY, N.C. — Delhaize Group on Thursday said that while its U.S. revenues dropped 1% to $18.8 billion, the retail conglomerate hopes to keep its business afloat by going forward with its New Game Plan.

Ending the quarter with more than 1,600 supermarkets in the United States — which included the opening of 40 stores and remodeling or expansion of 31 stores in the Richmond, Va., and Greenville, N.C., markets — Delhaize said it is increasing its store openings by investing $1.2 billion in 2011, including 120 to 130 store openings and approximately 120 store remodels. The expansion mainly will effect its Bottom Dollar Food banner, although Delhaize also disclosed remodel plans for three Food Lion stores.

Delhaize said it also was forging ahead with such sales-building initiatives as price investments, private-brand innovation and assortment optimization.

Delhaize's Pierre-Olivier Beckers said during 2010 that its U.S.-based banners, namely Food Lion, "made important price investments as part of the New Game Plan," adding that Delhaize's continued "commitment to price investments" kept its U.S. retail inflation "largely below" national inflation.

In addition to its $18.8 billion in revenue, comparable-store sales for the fourth quarter improved from -1.8% in the third quarter to -0.8%.

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