Delhaize Group said late last month that sales at its two remaining U.S. banners – Food Lion and Hannaford – increased during the fourth quarter, despite an economic environment that remained deflationary.
At its Delhaize America subsidiary, sales in the U.S. increased 2.6 percent to $4.3 billion in the quarter, with comp-store volume gaining 2.8 percent despite the effect of negative inflation of 0.4 percent.
The Brussels-based merchant said its growth was positively impacted in part by price investments – the company now has completed a total rebranding of all its Food Lion stores (a project that began in 2011) – and increased promotional activity.
For the full year, Delhaize generated U.S. revenues of $17.1 billion, an increase of 1.9 percent over 2012. During the 52 week fiscal year comp-store sales increased 2 percent. The company will release earnings for the quarter and fiscal year on March 13.
“In the U.S., where volume growth continued to be positive, we were especially pleased with Food Lion’s momentum,” said Frans Muller, Delhaize Group’s new president and CEO. “The phase repositioning, started almost three years ago, is meeting our expectations and we look forward to further develop Food Lion’s customer proposition this year.”
Last month, the Salisbury, NC chain completed the last phase of its rebranding initiative by remodeling 72 stores in Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee. In addition to upgrading fixtures, improving training and customer service, Food Lion also lowered price and offered a double-your-money-back produce guarantee.
“We invite customers to visit their local Food Lion, where they will experience firsthand our store enhancements, such as better service, fresher produce and our new MVP Savings Centers,” Rick LaCroix, VP for Food Lion’s Southern division, said. “We hope customers will give us a try and experience the changes we’ve made throughout the store.”
In the past 42 months, Food Lion has “repositioned” about 1,100 stores in 10 states.