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Kash n' Karry's parent reports loss

An $84-million restructuring charge leads to a $10-million quarterly loss for the Belgian retail grocer Delhaize Group.

MARK ALBRIGHT
Published May 7, 2004

Delhaize Group, the Belgian retail grocer that owns Kash n' Karry Food Stores Inc., reported a $10-million quarterly loss Thursday, partly because of the restructuring of its Tampa-based supermarket chain.

Kash n' Karry closed 34 stores this spring as part of a larger plan to concentrate on bolstering market share along the West Coast of Florida. The next part of the plan includes changing the name to Sweetbay Supermarket over the next three years. The chain will be strengthening its offering of perishables, adding more ethnic foods and building the selection of brands competitors don't carry. The plan also phases out the Kash n' Karry frequent shopper program.

The Belgian parent said the $84-million charge for Kash n' Karry, along with restructured operations at a chain in Singapore and decreased profit margins teamed up to undermine earnings.

Delhaize sales would have increased 3.8 percent to 4.4-billion euros, but instead declined by 4 percent because of unfavorable currency exchange rates compared to the year-ago quarter. The quarterly loss of 8-million euros ($10-million) compared with net income of 46.3-million euros a year ago.

Food Lion, one of Delhaize's other U.S. supermarket chains, said it will begin testing a new store concept called Bloom, a Food Lion Market, with five stores in Charlotte, N.C. The Bloom store will feature a bigger emphasis on convenience, fresh perishables and more ready-to-serve or quick-preparation meals.

- Mark Albright can be reached at albright@sptimes.com or 72793-8252.

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