BRUSSELS — Countering pricing pressure with increased sales volume, Delhaize Group here drove a quarterly increase in earnings and said operating profits would be higher for the fiscal year than its previous forecasts.
U.S. sales of $4.8 billion for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 slipped by 1.2% and comps were down by 1.3% due mainly to deflation, officials said, as targeted promotions and price investments helped increase volume and trips. Cost reductions helped the company achieve operating margins of 5.5%, down 14 basis points from the same period a year ago.
Overall net profits increased 10.1% at identical rates (19.3% at actual rates) on an overall sales improvement of 1.9%. Based on results for the quarter and its performance year-to-date, Delhaize upgraded its annual forecast for operating profits to 1% to 4%, from earlier guidance of 0%-3%.
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