BRUSSELS — Delhaize Group here Wednesday reported that first-quarter comparable-store sales fell 1.8% in the U.S. and operating profits were down 6.9% as it rolled out a new pricing initiative.
Operating margins were 5.3% of sales in the U.S. for the first quarter, compared with 5.7% in the year-ago quarter. U.S. operating profit totaled $248 million on $4.68 billion in revenues, down 0.4%.
The company said it is implementing cost reductions to fund the price cuts, which were rolled out at its Hannaford Bros. and Food Lion chains in the first quarter. Overall the company said net income of about $168 million (U.S.) was up 2.2% at actual exchange rates and 6.5% at identical rates. Operating profit declined 2.7%, to about $311.5 million at current exchange rates, on a 2.3% decline in revenues, to about $6.4 billion.
Adjusted for identical exchange rates, however, Delhaize said operating profit increased and revenues both increased by 1.7% for the period, driven by stronger gains in Belgium.
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