SALISBURY, N.C. — Delhaize officials on Thursday said they intended to expand brand repositioning at Food Lion to as many as 800 stores by the end of 2012.
Officials cited positive results at 200 rebranded stores in pilot markets of Raleigh, N.C., and Chattanooga, Tenn., saying those stores showed comparable-store sales gains in excess of the rest of the chain and “high single-digit” increases in traffic and volume. Officials said they would announce shortly which elements of the new branding effort they will replicate and in which markets.
The announcement came as Delhaize said U.S. sales increased by 3.5% and comparable-store sales increased 1.9% during the third quarter, vs. a year ago — but that continued economic pressures in the Southeast caused sales to deteriorate from the second quarter. U.S. operating margins were up slightly to 5.2% of $4.9 billion in sales, while operating profits climbed by 3.7% to $252 million.
For the year-to-date, U.S. sales increased 2.6% to $14.5 billion while operating profits decreased 4.1% to $673 million.