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    Delhaize Lowers Earnings Outlook

    BRUSSELS - Belgian supermarket giant Delhaize Group on Thursday issued a warning about its U.S. grocery store sales for the second time in two months, taking its shares down by 14 percent.

    BRUSSELS - Belgian supermarket giant Delhaize Group on Thursday issued a warning about its U.S. grocery store sales for the second time in two months, taking its shares down by 14 percent.

    Delhaize, which owns and operates Food Lion and Kash n' Karry, said it expects sales in U.S. stores open more than one year to fall 1 percent in 2002. In August, Delhaize Chief Executive Pierre-Olivier Beckers warned U.S. sales would rise only 1 percent for the full-year, down from an earlier 2 percent growth estimate.

    Its Food Lion and Kash n' Karry stores were hit in July and September by "economic softness and aggressive competition," the company said. The grocer expects weak U.S. conditions to continue through the remainder of 2002.

    Due to the poor sales, Delhaize said it now expects 2002 sales to be 2 percent lower than in 2001.

    Another company that lowered its earnings expectations for the remainder of the year is Nash Finch Co. The retailer and distributor said the weak economy and poor execution of promotions at its retail division have stifled sales in recent months.

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