* Sells Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid's chains to Bi-Lo
* Retains U.S. mainstay Food Lion
* Sale aimed focusing effort, spending on existing brands
BRUSSELS, May 29 Belgium-based food retailer
Delhaize has agreed to sell three U.S. supermarket
chains to rival Bi-Lo Holdings for $265 million to
simplify its U.S. business and focus more on its larger chains.
Delhaize, which earns some 65 percent of its revenue in the
United States, said in a statement late on Tuesday that it would
be selling its Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid's operations.
The 165 stores generated revenue of $1.8 billion last year,
about 6 percent of Delhaize's overall revenue of 22.7 billion
euros ($29.18 billion).
Chief Executive Pierre-Oliver Beckers, who is set to retire
at the end of the year, said the deal would help to simplify its
U.S. operations and focus its efforts and money on its remaining
The stores it has sold operate in South Carolina, Georgia
Delhaize will retain its largest U.S. business, Food Lion,
with more than 1,000 stores in the southeast and mid-Atlantic
states as well as its smaller Bottom Dollar and up-market
northeastern Hannaford chains.
Like other retailers in the United States, Delhaize has been
hit by a squeeze of consumer incomes and fierce competition,
with price promotions trimming margins.
Delhaize has been busy with a major refurbishment of its
Food Lion stores and cut is dividend this year to help fund
Higher spending at the revamped stores helped stem four
quarters of declining sales in the United States at the end of