According to a specialized American site, Delhaize has asked business bank Wells Fargo to sell 66 Bottom Dollar Food store, its discount subsidiary. Analysts believe Aldi and Supervalu might be possible buyers.
66 stores for sale
According to Food World/Food Trade News, Delhaize America plans to sell 66 Bottom Dollar Food stores in Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and north-east Ohio. The usually well-informed website also heard that business bank Wells Fargo has given interested parties all the necessary information. Bids had to be lodged by 13 August.
A Delhaize spokesperson remained out in the open when asked about the situation: "Our company does not comment on rumours and speculation about possible purchases or sales."
Analysts believe German discounter Aldi and American Supervalu would be interested. Delhaize America's current CEO, Kevin Holt, had worked for Supervalu for 20 years. The website believes Wakefern Food Corp (PriceRite, Fresh Grocer), Giant Eagle (Market District, Good Cents Grocery+More) and even Ahold USA would benefit from a possible purchase as most stores are in (sub)urban areas.
Bottom Dollar Food was founded in 2004, following a huge reshuffle of Delhaize's American activities back when Rick Anicetti was still in control. He decided to upgrade Food Lion and to close off the bottom of the market with a discounter (Bottom Dollar) and to transform 60 stores into a luxury chain (Bloom).
The entire plan could hardly be called a success: Rick Anicetti left in 2010 and Delhaize restructured once again in 2012. 127 Food Lion stores were closed, Bloom was shuttered, 6 Bottom Food stores were shut down and another 22 were transformed into Food Lion. Only Bottom Food Dollar stores in Pennsylvania and New Jersey remained.
It seemed a relaunch would have been possible: the discounter opened new stores in January 2013 in western Pennsylvania and north-east Ohio, but Delhaize now wants to get rid of the remaining Bottom Dollar Food stores. The possible sale is not a huge surprise: Frans Muller, Delhaize Group CEO, had previously said that the American discount chain was no longer a core activity for Delhaize.