Delhaize Ups Store Growth

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Brussels, Belgium Delhaize Group plans to step up store growth in 2008, particularly in its Food Lion division, the company said on Thursday.

Delhaize said it would spend around $750 million in capital expenditures in the United States in fiscal 2008, with plans to build between 50 and 55 new stores. This would entail 45 stores in its Food Lion division, including Food Lion, Bottom Dollar, Bloom and Harveys banners.

The company also said it would build seven new Hannaford stores (same as in 2007) and four Sweetbay stores, compared to five last year).

Delhaize also posted its best U.S. annual comparable-store sales gains in a decade. U.S. sales in 2007 improved by 5.1% to $18.2 billion, while same-store sales jumped 3.8%.

Thirty-two new Food Lion units opened in 2007.

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