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Pierre-Olivier Beckers

BY CSA STAFF

Delhaize America was in trouble. In the words of Pierre-Olivier Beckers, back in 2001, “We weren’t a group. We were a loose affiliation of independent companies with little link of any sort. We had underperforming, non-strategic banners and stores. Our sales were underperforming. Our concepts needed strategic thinking, and our debt leverage was huge.”

The 47-year-old Belgian, who also serves as chairman of his country’s Olympic committee, took control of U.S. operations in 2002, three years after being named head of Delhaize Group. Herculean efforts transformed Delhaize America into a family of highly focused, customer-centric concepts, including Bloom, Sweetbay Supermarkets, Hannaford, Bottom Dollar and Food Lion, that target specific market niches. The result—an operating income-to-sales ratio of 5.5% in 2006, some 30% higher than industry norm—has given new hope to other traditional grocers caught between discount and upscale food stores.

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Borders to offer free resolution workshops

BY CSA STAFF

ANN ARBOR, Mich. Borders said Thursday that it is offering customers free in store events throughout the month of January to help them kick start their new year’s resolutions and learn how to keep them through the year. Programs include wellness fairs, yoga classes and diet seminars.

Borders reported that local organizations and community groups will be featured in activities and events at its stores across the country ranging from fitness centers and hospitals to singles groups and retirement centers.

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Schulze sells 440K shares of company stock

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Best Buy chairman and founder Richard Schulze sold 440,000 shares of Best Buy stock last week valued at $22.4 million. Schulze sold the stock at prices ranging from $50.71 to $51.18 per share. Earlier this month, Schulze sold 2.35 million shares valued at more than $120 million.

While Schulze’s stock sales are considerable, they represent just a fraction of his holdings at Best Buy. He’s estimated to still hold more than 68 million shares of stock amassed during 41 years with the company.

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