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    :Delhaize Group Looks to Boost Private Label by Joining European Buying Group

    The Belgian grocer plans to become a member of AMS, one of the largest buying alliances in Europe for private label products.

    The Delhaize Group said yesterday it plans to become a member of AMS, one of the largest buying alliances in Europe for private label products, in the hopes of optimizing its price negotiations for private label programs.

    AMS sources commodities on a European and global scale, which helps it deliver its members the best possible quality products at the best possible price, the Belgian global grocer said. The AMS partnership currently includes 11 European retailers.

    "As a partner of AMS, we will be able to improve our private label programs further and create economies of scale that will benefit the consumer," said Renaud Cogels, e.v.p. Delhaize Group, c.e.o. Southeastern Europe and Asia, and head of global sourcing. "Private label products have become an increasingly important tool for differentiation and customer loyalty building, especially in our historical Belgian and European markets. Today more than ever, they also present a welcome alternative to consumers which purchasing power is under pressure."

    Delhaize Group said its membership in AMS will start Jan. 1, 2009. Until then, it said it will remain a partner of European Marketing Distribution (EMD), the European buying alliance it joined in 2001.

    Delhaize Group has operations in seven countries on three continents. Its banners in the U.S. include Food Lion, Hannaford, and Sweetbay Supermarkets.

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