Food Lion to Build More Stores in 2003

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Delhaize-owned Food Lion Inc. plans to open up to 60 stores next year, the Charlotte Business Journal reports. Up to 20 of the new stores could feature a newer design that includes wider aisles and a more decorative theme.

Food Lion spokesman Jeff Lowrance told the Charlotte Business Journal that the plans reflect the strength of Food Lion's markets. "Many of the markets and communities Food Lion serves are growing," he said. "Food Lion is growing proportionally to meet increased customer needs."

The projected growth mirrors the company's performance in 2000, when it opened about 50 stores, he said. In 2001, Food Lion added 37 stores.

"Throughout its 45-year history, Food Lion has made organic growth a priority and has managed its resources accordingly," Lowrance said. "Food Lion continues to concentrate on the markets and communities where the company has had good success and enjoys good name recognition."

Even as Food Lion prepares to expand, its Brussels-based parent, Delhaize Group, recently reported weak sales in the third quarter. Cash flow from Delhaize operations declined 16.8 percent, primarily because of depreciation of the dollar and weak sales at Food Lion and Kash n' Karry.

Delhaize President Pierre-Olivier Beckers said the company is convinced it can improve that performance.

"We are committed to strengthen Food Lion's competitive position through price leadership, better operational execution and enhancing its customers' shopping experience in fresh products, service and convenience," he said.
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