BRUSSELS (Reuters) – On Thursday Belgian supermarket group Delhaize announced its intention to remove 5,000 jobs after sales below expectations in the fourth quarter of 2011 in the United States and Belgium.
The retailer, which carries 65% of its sales in the U.S., plans to close 113 stores there. In addition, 20 shops should be closed in Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Delhaize America operates more than 1,600 stores in 16 states in the eastern United States. The stores affected will close within 30 days to be converted.
Same-store sales fell 0.4% in the U.S. in the fourth quarter. In Belgium, the decline was 1.5%. The market anticipated a 1.4% increase for the United States and a decrease of 1% in Belgium.
The consolidated turnover of Delhaize was up 7% at constant exchange rates over the last three months of 2011 to reach 5.64 billion euros. Analysts polled by Reuters expected a comparable number (5680000000).
Regardless of the acquisition of Serbian Delta Maxi retailer, the increase in sales was 1.5%.
In November, Delhaize had indicated that conditions were becoming more difficult in the U.S., consumers do not accept price increases linked to inflation and turning to cheaper products.