Delhaize Q4 Sales Edge Up, Sees Annual Underlying Op. Profit In Line With View

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(RTTNews.com) - Belgian food retailer Delhaize Group ( DEG ) Thursday reported a marginal rise in fourth-quarter sales with strong performances in the U.S. and Belgium. The firm expects underlying operating profit for 2013 in line with its guidance.

Frans Muller, CEO, said, "Our fourth quarter 2013 sales were strong both in the U.S. and in Belgium...At approximately €770 million at identical exchange rates, our preliminary unaudited underlying operating profit for 2013 is consistent with the guidance provided during the year.''

As per the preliminary results, in the fourth quarter, Delhaize Group's revenues edged up 0.1 percent to 5.338 billion euros from 5.335 billion euros. The growth was 3 percent at identical exchange rates. Organic revenue improved 3.2 percent.

In the U.S., revenue dropped 2.1 percent to 3.151 billion euros. Revenues at Delhaize America increased 2.8 percent in local currency and it reported a 2.8 percent growth in comparable store sales, driven by continued strong performance at Food Lion despite retail deflation.

Revenues advanced 2.5 percent in Belgium to 1.335 billion euros while Delhaize Belgium's comparable store sales growth was 2.4 percent.

The Southeastern Europe segment generated 852 million euros, up 4.5 percent from the prior year, amid strong performance in Greece and expansion in Romania partly offset by negative volume growth in Serbia.. Comparable store sales slid 0.6 percent.

Based on preliminary figures, the firm expects its 2013 group underlying operating profit to be around 770 million euros at identical exchange rates, in line with its guidance of at least 755 million euros.

The stock fell 1.3 percent in Amsterdam on Wednesday at 45.69 euros.

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