Delhaize Posts Fourth-Quarter Revenue in Line With Estimates

Delhaize Group SA, the owner of the Food Lion supermarkets in the U.S., posted fourth-quarter revenue in line with estimates and announced the closure of 34 stores under its Sweetbay banner.

Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 rose 2.3 percent to 5.76 billion euros ($7.66 billion), in line with the 5.79 billion-euro average of seven analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Excluding currency translation effects, revenue rose 0.3 percent.

Underlying operating profit for the full year fell about 17.5 percent, the midpoint of its own forecast of a drop of 15 percent to 20 percent. Delhaize had said in its most recent guidance that it expected the 2012 decline at the bottom end of the range.

The company said it will incur about 390 million euros in one-time charges, mostly due to impairments at Belgrade-based Maxi. About 300 million euros will be booked in the fourth quarter and about 90 million euros in the first quarter.

The charges include about 130 million euros for store closings at Sweetbay and about 15 million euros in management settlement costs.

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