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For the fourth quarter of 2014, Delhaize Group's revenues increased a healthy 11.4 percent (6.3 percent at identical exchange rates) to $6.5 billion. Excluding a 53rd trading week in the United States, group revenue grew 6.4 percent, or 1.3 percent at identical exchange rates.
The 53rd week in the United States resulted in a positive revenue contribution of $344 million, while organic revenue growth was 1.3 percent. The international retailer's U.S. revenues rose 12.1 percent in local currency (3.8 percent, excluding the impact of the 53rd week), while comps gained 3.6 percent.
"In 2014, we made substantial progress in a number of areas,” said Delhaize President and CEO Frans Muller. "While we recognize there is still significant work to be done to achieve our ambitions and goals, I am confident in our team's ability to deliver."
For the full year 2014, Delhaize posted $24.1 billion in revenues, an increase of 3.7 percent (3.9 percent at identical exchange rates). Excluding the 53rd week in the United States, revenues tallied $23.8 billion, an increase of 2.5 percent (2.6 percent at identical exchange rates), alongside organic revenue growth of 2.6 percent.
The Brussels-based retail conglomerate partly attributed its overall revenue growth to 6.6 percent revenue growth of the U.S. local currency (4.5 percent, excluding the 53rd trading week), aided by 4.4 percent comparable-store sales growth.
For Q4 2014, the company’s U.S. revenues increased 12.1 percent to $4.7 billion, including the above-mentioned 53rd trading week and excluding results from the Bottom Dollar Food banner, whose 66 stores have been sold to Aldi, the german discount grocer with U.S. headquarters in Batavia, Ill. Both Food Lion and Hannaford continued to report positive real sales growth.
"Our fourth-quarter revenues at Delhaize America were solid, partly helped by inflation," noted Muller.
For the full year 2014, Delhaize America generated revenues of $17.7 billion.
This year, Muller said, "our focus will be to further roll out the Easy, Fresh and Affordable [store renovation] strategy at Food Lion and to implement the Transformation Plan [to increase efficiency and lower costs] in Belgium, both initiatives focused on the customer. We will also seek to accelerate growth in selected markets. Finally, we will continue to be disciplined with respect to operating costs, capital allocation and working capital."