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SALISBURY, N.C. -- Delhaize America unveiled several key strategic actions to improve its U.S. portfolio, including the closure of 113 underperforming Food Lion stores, mainly in markets where the banner has the lowest store density.
The retailer will also retire its Bloom banner altogether; convert 64 Bloom and Bottom Dollar Food stores in Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia to Food Lion stores; close seven underperforming Bloom stores and six underperforming Bottom Dollar Food stores in overlapping Food Lion markets; and convert one Food Lion store in Florida to a Harveys store. In addition, the company is discontinuing the operation of its Clinton, Tenn., distribution center and ramping up the rollout of its Food Lion brand strategy in another 600 to 700 stores.
"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," explained Ron Hodge, CEO of Salisbury, N.C.-based Delhaize America. "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."
All affected stores are scheduled to close their doors within 30 days, with store conversions set to begin immediately, according to the company. As a result of these actions, about 4,900 associates will lose their positions. Delhaize will provide severance to eligible employees, as well as work with government officials to help with transition support. Associates can also apply for open positions within the company. Most associates at converted stores will continue to work at those locations.
After shuttering the 113 stores and converting a Lake City, Fla., location to a Harveys market, Delhaize America will no longer operate the Food Lion banner in Florida, although its Sweetbay and Harveys banners will continue to be present in the state.
The company is boosting its density of Food Lion stores in other states by converting Bloom and Bottom Dollar Food stores to the Food Lion brand in Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia. Following these conversions, the Food Lion banner will operate 1,127 stores in 10 states.
"Food Lion is focused on repositioning our business for future growth," noted Food Lion President Cathy Green Burns. "By closing underperforming stores, we will continue to position Food Lion for success, especially in light of our brand strategy results. 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."
Delhaize America operates more than 1,600 stores in 16 states in the eastern United States under the Bottom Dollar Food, Food Lion, Harveys, Hannaford Supermarkets, Reid's and Sweetbay banners. The company employs about 107,000 full-time and part-time associates.