Delhaize to restructure in US after sales dive

15th January 2010, Comments 0 comments

Belgian retail and distribution group Delhaize has announced major restructuring across its principal United States market, following a sales slump.

BRUSSELS - Partial results published Thursday showed global fourth-quarter revenues fell by 10.1 percent compared to one year earlier, to 4.872 billion euros (7.069 billion dollars).

Three quarters of Delhaize's sales are based in the US, where it posted an 8.5 percent drop in dollar terms to 4.716 billion, rising to 17.1 percent after conversion.

The group is to create, from February 1, "a completely new US operational structure with the creation of one integrated organisation with common shared services," said chief executive Pierre-Olivier Beckers in a statement.

Delhaize operates stores across the US under the Food Lion, Bloom, Harveys, Bottom Dollar Food, Hannaford and Sweetbay brands.

Support services covering their "supply chain, IT, finance, human resources, organisational change management, legal and government relations, communications, strategy and research, and corporate development" will be shared across each of these outlets.

Delhaize ended 2009 with 2,732 stores worldwide, and the statement said the latest element in its new game plan would allow the group to "create greater efficiencies and scale, eliminate redundancies, become more flexible in the integration of acquisitions, and ultimately better serve our banners and customers."

To reflect that restructuring, Delhaize logged a 44-million-euro pre-tax fourth-quarter charge.

The group reported growth in its other markets -- Belgium, Greece, Romania and Indonesia.

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