Food Lion parent ‘encouraged’ by results at renovated stores

A family shops at Food Lion in Lake Wylie in early April.
A family shops at Food Lion in Lake Wylie in early April. The Charlotte Observer

Brussels-based Delhaize, the parent company of Food Lion, praised the performance of its American stores this week as sales and profits slumped in Europe during the first quarter.

The company said sales at its U.S. stores rose to $4.4 billion, up 3.2 percent from the same period in 2014. For Food Lion and Hannaford stores open at least a year, sales were up 2.5 percent, above the consensus of Reuters analysts, who had estimated a rise of 2.1 percent.

Food Lion, the No. 3 supermarket chain in the Charlotte region by market share, last year launched a new “customer-centric” way of training employees as well as a new store concept focused on fresh products and low prices called “Easy, Fresh and Affordable.”

Delhaize CEO Frans Muller said the company “remained encouraged by results” at renovated Food Lion stores, Supermarket News reported, but that the chain was “‘fine-tuning’ shrink and labor at the stores with an eye on improving their profitability.”

Delhaize has completed 76 such renovations so far and plans for 160 more in the Raleigh market this year. Muller said elsewhere, the company completed the rollout of new checkout technology to all of its Food Lion stores, Supermarket News reported.

Food Lion operates 106 stores in the Charlotte area.

Delhaize, which makes the majority of its revenue in the U.S., reported that its first quarter operating profit fell 11.2 percent in the first quarter and that same-store sales fell 2.8 percent as it invested to regain customers in its struggling Belgian business, Reuters reported.

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