|Financial Summary Third Quarter 2014|
|» Revenue growth of 3.3% at identical exchange rates (3.3% organic growth)|
|» Comparable store sales growth of 5.3% in the U.S. and -5.0% in Belgium|
| » Group underlying operating profit of €192 million, underlying operating margin of 3.5% (4.2% in the U.S., 1.4% in Belgium) |
» Free cash flow generation of €118 million (€426 million for the first nine months of 2014)
|» Agreement to sell Bottom Dollar Food store locations|
|» 31 Food Lion stores relaunched under the "Easy, Fresh & Affordable" strategy in August, 45 additional stores will be relaunched next week|
BRUSSELS, Belgium, Nov. 6, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- » CEO Comments
Frans Muller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Delhaize Group, commented: "While our overall performance in the third quarter met our expectations, results were decidedly mixed among our key regions. In the U.S., comparable store sales growth was very strong at 5.3%, resulting from both continued good momentum at Food Lion and favourable, albeit temporary, competitive dynamics at Hannaford. These positive volume trends resulted in a 10% increase in our U.S. underlying operating profit. In August, we have launched the first 31 Food Lion stores deploying our new "Easy, Fresh & Affordable" strategy. Although it is too early to draw conclusions, they are experiencing good initial customer response. We will roll out the next 45 stores next week."
"In Belgium, results were impacted by both weak summer trading and uncertainty caused by the June announcement of the Transformation Plan. While we believe this impact is temporary in nature, disruptions have persisted and conditions have deteriorated in the fourth quarter. We remain determined to make our business more sustainable in the long term and continue to be in a dialogue with our social partners to realize this. In Southeastern Europe, we faced weak economic conditions in our markets and deflation in Serbia, both of which have continued in the fourth quarter. We remain focused on our store expansion plans to increase our strong and growing market positions."