Belgian Delhaize Group is said to be on the lookout foropportunities to sell Harveys and Sweetbay, two of its American supermarket formulas. At the last general shareholders' meeting with departing CEO Pierre-Olivier Beckers, the CEO refused to comment on the issue.
Sweetbay and Harveys on display
Delhaize is working hard on cleaning out its American branch: under the leadership of Roland Smith the distribution group cut heavily in the bonuses of management last year and it upped profit margins. He also closed down over thirty (unprofitable) shops of Sweetbay this year.
Now it seems Delhaize wants to divest the Sweetbay chain completely, as well as Harveys, says Reuters: the group is said to have asked business bank Lazard to look for possible buyers for the chains.
Both chains are relatively small in the United States and are setting poor results. Harveys has 73 supermarkets in the states of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida, where it focusses on regional and fresh products. Last year Sweetbay had 105 shops in Florida, focusing on Hispanics in the region.
At the general shareholders' meeting CEO Pierre-Olivier Beckers denied nor confirmed the rumours. “We closed about thirty shops in the US this year”, he said, “and we are seeing if more supermarkets will have to close.”
“Made Delhaize an integrated group”
At the shareholders' meeting, it was said that the search for a new CEO for the group was still not concluded. There are said to be three internal candidates for the position, but the retailer is also looking at external candidates.
Pierre-Olivier Beckers, who is resigning as CEO of Delhaize after fifteen years at the end of the year, was applauded for his services to the company. “I have made mistakes, but having done nothing would have been worse. I have made Delhaize an integrated group and that is the most important for me”, was the final statement of Beckers as CEO of the Belgian retail group.