BRUSSELS, Belgium, December 3, 2009 – Delhaize Group (Euronext Brussels: DELB – NYSE: DEG), the Belgian international food retailer, today at the occasion of its annual Analysts’ Meeting, presents a new strategic plan for the coming years focusing on accelerated growth, increased efficiencies and stronger intra-Group integration. The Group is planning to further increase its price competitiveness in all its markets, triple the number of store openings in the coming three years in its newer formats and operations compared to the years 2007-2009 and realize an additional EUR 300 million annual operating cost savings by 2012 to fund its price investments and other sales building initiatives, and support its profitability.
Pierre-Olivier Beckers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Delhaize Group, commented: “Today, Delhaize Group has a strong and proven building platform of leading brands and market shares, best-in-class industry profitability and a solid balance sheet. Now is the right time to capitalize on our strengths and further accelerate. The goal of our “New Game Plan” is to deliver value leadership in all our markets leading to superior revenue and profit growth and to make of Delhaize Group a more effective acquisition platform through additional synergies, shared knowledge and shared services.”
The “New Game Plan” of Delhaize Group is developed around 4 breakthrough themes:
1. Operate as one Group
2. Accelerate Growth
3. Excel in Associate Development
4. Executional Excellence
Breakthrough Themes of the “New Game Plan”
1. From 2010, the more than 141 000 associates of Delhaize Group will share and live one common vision and set of values which will drive the attitude of each and every associate in bringing the best of Delhaize Group to customers, communities and associates.
2. Building on its strong existing platform Delhaize Group is planning for accelerated growth.
From 2010 on, Delhaize Group will put an even greater emphasis on price competitiveness resulting in value leadership across all its operations. Each of our banners is planning a new and more aggressive pricing strategy from the start of 2010 by benchmarking itself against the leading price competitor with, as a goal, to further narrow the gap.
The Group will maximize the share of wallet in its existing stores by capitalizing on the more than 16 million customer visits per week worldwide through an efficient assortment as well as new innovative and attractive products and services.
Delhaize Group will also further build its industry-leading initiatives in health and wellness such as Guiding Stars to respond to consumers’ increasing health concerns and to continue to reinforce its differentiation. By 2011, Delhaize Group’s Belgian and Greek operations will have nutritional labeling for their private brands’ assortments, in addition to the Guiding Stars labeling already present today in Food Lion, Hannaford, Sweetbay and Bloom’s assortments.
In its “New Game Plan” Delhaize Group will continue to extend its industry leadership in Corporate Responsibility initiatives. In 2010, Delhaize Group plans to audit 100% of its private brand suppliers for food safety and compliance.
Delhaize Group plans to use its new low cost supermarket formats Bottom Dollar Food (U.S.) and Red Market (Europe) and its newer markets (Greece, Romania and Indonesia) as additional drivers to accelerate organic store growth. Over the next three years, Delhaize Group will triple the store openings generated by these newer operations to 250 (compared to 85 new stores in 2007-2009).
3. The accelerated growth will be enabled by excellence in associate development. We will continue to leverage Delhaize Group’s signature training and development programs and the Group’s strong culture to further strengthen the best-in-class sense of engagement and commitment.
4. Increased efficiencies through executional excellence will fund the accelerated growth initiatives and offset underlying cost pressures. Following its EUR 60 million savings realized in 2008 and an additional EUR 100 million in 2009, Delhaize Group will additionally generate EUR 300 million annual operating cost savings by 2012 through banner-specific initiatives and increased shared services, particularly at regional level.