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Retail conglomerate Delhaize Group reported fourth-quarter revenue growth of 1.5 percent at identical exchange rates (7.6 percent at actual exchange rates) and improved U.S. comparable sales, as well as what it termed an “excellent” operating margin of 5.9 percent. The Brussels-based company further noted a healthy operating margin increase in each of its regions.
For 2010, Delhaize posted revenue growth of 1 percent at identical exchange rates (4.6 percent at actual exchange rates), with strong comp-sales growth at its Hannaford stores, as well as an improving trend in the second half of the year at Food Lion. The company’s basic earnings per share for 2010 grew 11.2 percent at actual exchange rates, while operating margin was a “resilient” 4.9 percent, according to Delhaize.
“Our group finished 2010 with a strong fourth quarter, with improved revenue growth, solid operating margins and double-digit operating profit growth,” said Delhaize Group president and CEO Pierre-Olivier Beckers. “Our fourth-quarter operating expenses decreased thanks to our teams’ focus on sustainable cost management.”
In the first year of its New Game Plan strategy, the company “improved our price competitiveness, successfully managed our operating expenses, stepped up our growth in our newer operations and maintained our solid operating margin,” added Beckers. “We are on track to achieve our ambitious EUR 500 million [US $691.8 million] annual gross cost savings target by the end of 2012.”
Beckers additionally noted that the recent acquisition of Serbian retailer Delta Maxi Group, which expanded the company’s presence into five new countries with positive growth potential, was “a major opportunity for Delhaize Group to become a leading retailer in southeastern Europe and an important step in rebalancing our geographic portfolio among our U.S., European and Asian businesses.”