According to the 52 year-old industry veteran, whose entire career has been spent in Europe and Asia, Food Lion maintains the number one or number two rank in 72 percent of its stores. The remaining 28 percent of its supermarkets would be reviewed this year to determine “can win or cannot win” status.
At Hannaford, Muller explained that while that division has maintained its market share, sales and profitability are threatened as competitors like Wal-Mart, Market Basket, Whole Foods and Wal-Mart are adding stores in New England. Delhaize is attempting to defend itself by continuing its price investment program, expanding the “Hannaford to Go” web-driven option and by also differentiating its brand, including its current ongoing assortment review. Those assortment changes will be less intensive than the comparable program at Food Lion.
As for Bottom Dollar Food, Delhaize’s price-impact stores whose go to market plan was restructured in 2010, it appears that format is now a secondary initiative. No cap-ex plan was discussed during the conference call and no new store openings were mentioned. Muller’s only comments about the struggling discount division was that Bottom Dollar “made tremendous progress in 2013, and the team is completely engaged to make sure that they make the next steps in making this business model more profitable. That’s the task at Bottom Dollar Food.”