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Capital Business
Posted at 01:36 PM ET, 01/12/2012

Food Lion’s owner closing 126 stores, retiring Bloom banner

Delhaize America, the Belgian owners of the Food Lion, Bloom and Bottom Dollar Food grocery chains, is taking some dramatic steps to
A Delhaize grocery stores in Brussels. The Belgian food retailer said Thursday it would close 126 underperforming stores. (Nicolas Maeterlinck - AFP/Getty Images)
shore up its portfolio of stores.

The company is closing 126 underperforming stores within 30 days, discarding the Bloom banner and shutting down its distribution center in Tennessee. About 4,900 store employees will be displaced as a result of these actions.

Of the stores on the chopping block, six are Bloom supermarkets located in Northern Virginia: in Annandale, Ashburn, Fairfax, Herndon, Leesburg and Woodbridge. There is also a Bottom Dollar Food store in Alexandria that is scheduled to go dark. A majority of the stores, 113 to be exact, are Food Lions primarily scattered throughout Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia.

Delhaize is in the process of converting 64 Bloom and Bottom Dollar stores from Maryland to North Carolina to Food Lion supermarkets. Most employees working at the converted stores will retain their jobs.

“While these were difficult decisions given the impact on our associates, customers and communities, we believe these actions will enable us to better serve our customers in our markets with high density, while positioning the company for future growth,” said Ron Hodge, chief executive of Delhaize America, in a release announcing the actions.

Delhaize said it will provide severance to eligible associates, and work with government officials to “assist with transition support.” Employees are being encouraged to apply for open positions within the company.

Once the conversions and closings are completed, Food Lion will operate 1,127 stores in 10 states.

“Food Lion is focused on repositioning our business for future growth,” said Cathy Green Burns, president of Food Lion, in the release. “As we move forward with implementing our strategy this year, Food Lion will launch its next market this quarter and expects to be substantially complete by year-end.”

The company, she added, is accelerating the roll out of the Food Lion strategy in an additional 600 to 700 stores.

By  |  01:36 PM ET, 01/12/2012

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