Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Food Lion Showing Steady Rise with Increased Sales

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Food Lion Showing Steady Rise with Increased Sales

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Basch, The Times-Union

At a time when supermarket chains are struggling to increase sales, things are looking up at Food Lion.

Delhaize Group, a Belgium-based company that owns Food Lion and three smaller U.S. chains, said last week that comparable store sales rose 1 percent in the third quarter and total sales rose 1.5 percent to $3.9 billion. About three-fourth's of Delhaize's revenue comes from its U.S. operations.

Because of the strong trends, Delhaize raised its sales and earnings projections for the rest of this year and its stock jumped higher. The company said its annual sales are now projected to rise by 4 percent to 4.5 percent, up from its previous forecast of 2 percent to 3.5 percent. And earnings are expected to rise by 25 percent to 30 percent, up from its previous forecast of 15 percent to 20 percent.

Delhaize's American Depositary Receipts, which are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, rose from about 43 a week earlier to a high of 49.30 Thursday, when the earnings were announced. The stock had begun moving up before the announcement in anticipation of a strong report.

Besides Food Lion, Delhaize also operates the Kash n' Karry and Hannaford chains. And last month, it acquired 43 Harveys supermarkets in south and central Georgia and the Tallahassee area.

Publix Super Markets

Publix Super Markets Inc. last week reported its third-quarter comparable store sales fell 0.3 percent. But the Lakeland-based company also said its stock, which is not publicly traded, rose during the quarter.

Publix's stock is available for sale only to employees and the price is determined by an independent appraisal. Based on the most recent appraisal, the stock price rose from $42.25 to $46.50 during the third quarter, the company said.

Total sales for the third quarter rose 5.8 percent to $4.1 billion. Earnings fell from $140.7 million to $134.6 million, due to a previously announced charge from the closing of PublixDirect, an on-line grocery shopping service the company was testing in South Florida. That charge reduced earnings by $18 million.

Koger Equity Inc. …

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