Delhaize Group said Wednesday that sales momentum at its Food Lion and Hannaford brands continued in the fiscal first quarter, with both U.S. brands posting comp growth despite price deflation and effects of an Easter calendar shift.
The U.S. operations combined for $4.5 billion in sales, a 1.9% increase. Comparable-store sales increased by 2.6% with growth at both banners, CEO Frans Muller said, paced by sales increases at revamped Food Lion stores and by continued price investments at Hannaford.
Delhaize said comps came in spite of 1.1% deflation and an estimates impact of 0.5% as a result of Easter holiday sales in last year's first quarter but not this year's.
Operating margins as a percent of sales were up to 3.9% from 3.8% in the same period last year, as sales momentum, lower shrink at Food Lion helped to offset increased labor expenses and the impact of price investments at Hannaford.
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