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BRUSSELS, Belgium - Global food retailer Delhaize Group has a lot of celebrating to do in 2007. The company will reflect on the anniversary of three milestones in its history: the 140-year reign of Delhaize Group; half a century's worth of Food Lion, Delhaize's largest subsidiary in the U.S.; and a 50-year record of operating supermarkets in Belgium.
Delhaize Group was founded in 1867 in Belgium by Jules Delhaize, Edouard Delhaize, and Jules Vieujant. It revolutionized the Belgian and European food retail scene by supplying, for the first time, a network of food stores through a central warehouse.
In 1957, Delhaize Group took innovation to a new level by opening in Brussels the first Belgian self-service supermarket.
In December of that same year, Food Lion--now the largest U.S. subsidiary of Delhaize Group, which today represents approximately half of total Group sales--was founded. Known originally as Food Town Stores, in 1968Food Lion was among the first in the U.S. retail industry to introduce the concept of every day low prices (EDLP). Delhaize Group bought into the company in 1974.
Today, Food Lion operates more than 1,250 supermarkets in the Southeastern and the Mid-Atlantic U.S.
Delhaize Group said it is planning a series of festive events to commemorate the trio of anniversaries in Belgium, at Food Lion, and in the other operations of the group. The festivities will involve all the different stakeholders that have contributed to the success of Delhaize Group, it said: associates, customers, suppliers, shareholders, and the community.
"The series of anniversary events in 2007 will not only be the celebration of a great past, but also form a platform for a great future," said Pierre-Olivier Beckers, Delhaize Group's president and c.e.o., in a statement.
Delhaize Group dies business in eight countries on three continents. At the end of September 2006, Delhaize Group's sales network consisted of 2,676 stores.