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Delhaize America to retire Bloom banner, shutter 126 stores

Moves designed to strengthen U.S. portfolio

SALISBURY, N.C. — The U.S. division of Delhaize Group is looking to strengthen its position in the market by retiring one of its supermarket banners and closing several underperforming stores.

Delhaize America announced that it will retire its Bloom banner, which operates stores in Virginia and Maryland. Additionally, Delhaize America will close 126 underperforming stores, including 113 stores under the Food Lion banner, seven stores under the Bloom banner and six under the Bottom Dollar Food banner.

As a result, 64 Bloom and Bottom Dollar Food stores in Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia will be converted to Food Lion stores, while one Food Lion store in Florida will be converted to Delhaize America's Harveys banner.

All affected stores will close within 30 days, while store conversions will begin immediately. After these conversions are complete, Food Lion will operate 1,127 stores across 10 states and accelerate the rollout of the Food Lion brand strategy in an additional 600 to 700 stores.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, Delhaize America will open 14 Bottom Dollar Food stores in Pittsburgh and Youngstown, Ohio, by the end of the first quarter, and expects to open another 10 to 15 stores by year-end in its new markets.

"Today's actions will continue to solidify our U.S. operations and enable our company to focus on our successful brand strategy repositioning at Food Lion and the expansion of Bottom Dollar Food in new markets," Delhaize America CEO Ron Hodge said. "While these were difficult decisions given the impact on our associates, customers and communities, we believe these actions will enable us to better serve our customers in our markets with high density, while positioning the company for future growth."

Food Lion president Cathy Green Burns said that the banner is "focused on repositioning [our business] for future growth."

"By closing underperforming stores, we will continue to position Food Lion for success, especially in light of our brand strategy results," she said. "We are very pleased with the reaction from our customers on the implementation of our new brand strategy work, which includes being recognized as a price leader, making our stores easier to shop, offering the greatest value in private brands and providing fresh produce. However, we also determined the most successful markets for these investments are areas where we have strong store density or high market share. As we move forward with implementing our strategy this year, Food Lion will launch its next market this quarter and expects to be substantially complete by year-end. We look forward to accelerating the Food Lion strategy and bringing the strategy to life in an additional 600 to 700 stores."

In related news, Delhaize America also will discontinue operations of its distribution center located in Clinton, Tenn.

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