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BRUSSELS - Belgian food retailer Delhaize, owner of Delhaize America, said Wednesday that its second-quarter net profit was 46.5 million euro ($45.6 million), compared to last year's 46.8 million euro. U.S. sales rose 0.7 percent to EUR4.1 billion, much less than the 3.5 percent predicted by analysts.
Delhaize, which does 80 percent of its business in the U.S., operating Food Lion, Hannaford and Kash n' Karry stores along the East Coast, said comparable store sales fell 1.2 percent after recovering in the first quarter of 2002.
The setback stems from tough competition, a weak economy and currency problems. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has been expanding into Food Lion's territory in the southeast U.S. In North Carolina, the company noted that unemployment has risen to 7 percent, "particularly hampering consumer spending."
And finally, the weaker dollar hurt. The company sited this as a major reason for its weak sales performance. However, it added that the weaker dollar helped the company reduce its euro-denominated debt by EUR635 million.