Inside This Issue - News
Food Lion celebrates renewal of 178 stores
May 27th, 2013
SALISBURY, N.C. – Food Lion has held grand reopenings at 178 stores in five states to celebrate its investment in lower prices and store upgrades.
According to the grocer, the investments include lower prices on 6,000 items, improved produce as part of its “Fresh From the Field” initiative and quality private label items, including the company’s My Essentials brand.
The grand reopening of this group of stores brings to more than 800 the total number of outlets that have received such investments. The initiative began with 167 stores in the Raleigh and Fayetteville, N.C., markets in 2011, followed by 268 stores in Virginia, West Virginia and the outer banks of North Carolina in March 2012 and another 269 locations in Salisbury and Charlotte, N.C., last July.
The investments, which were combined with the closure of 171 underperforming stores in 2012 and February 2013, contributed to increased first quarter sales and better-than-expected performance by Food Lion, according to its parent company Delhaize Group, which also owns the Hannaford and Bottom Dollar Food supermarket chains.
"Both Food Lion and, to a lesser degree, Hannaford experienced significant positive regrowth," said Delhaize president and chief executive officer Pierre-Olivier Beckers during a conference call with analysts. "Our profitability saw a strong recovery. This was boosted by favorable weather conditions, cost savings, lower losses at Bottom Dollar Food and the benefit from closing underperforming stores."
Beckers, 53, surprised investors and analysts earlier this month when he announced that he will step down as CEO at the end of this year, although he will retain a nonexecutive seat on the board. Beckers joined Delhaize in 1983 and was named president and CEO in January 1999.
"I have said that it is healthy and important from time to time for a company to install a new person at the top," he told analysts. "Someone who will bring new thinking and a fresh pair of eyes to the reality, the challenges and opportunities facing the company. In addition, it is clear that, after a challenging last couple of years, Delhaize Group is again building momentum, as indicated by our results of the last three quarters."
As he noted, Beckers’ tenure included a challenging effort to get Food Lion back on track after it lost ground competitively following the recession of 2008 and 2009. Delhaize derives around 64% of its total sales from its U.S. chains.
Delhaize is conducting both an internal and external search for successor candidates and expects to have a new CEO in place by the end of the year.