Ahold Delhaize has said that its ‘key priority’ over the next few years is to make its Delhaize Le Lion the ‘favourite supermarket’ for Belgian shoppers, ‘winning the hearts and minds of customers and become the best retailer in Belgium’.
In addition, the group said that it will look to transfer all its Belgium supermarkets into the Delhaize Le Lion banner, including Albert Heijn outlets that it operates in the country. The management board are expected to assess the readiness for this integration process in the first half of 2019.
The group made the statement as it announced that its Belgian subsidiaries have agreed to divest four stores and one project in the country, in order to comply with conditions that the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) attached to its approval of the merger of Ahold and Delhaize Group in 2016.
The divestments are additional to those announced on 13 March, and will see one Albert Heijn store and two Delhaize stores, as well as one project, transfer to Carrefour. Separately, an independent operator will buy one store from Albert Heijn.
The BCA gave approval to the merger of Ahold Delhaize, conditional on the divestment of eight Albert Heijn stores, five Delhaize affiliated stores and a limited number of projects in Belgium.
‘Ahold Delhaize continues to work in close cooperation with the BCA and potential buyers to complete the divestment process for the remaining stores included in the package as agreed with the regulator,’ Ahold Delhaize said in a statement.
Ahold Delhaize said that its business is now ‘uniquely positioned to serve the Belgian market with two brands successfully serving the Belgian customer, each providing distinctive benefits to their customers’.
Delhaize Le Lion, which celebrates its 150th anniversary year this year, will be ‘strengthening its customer proposition, investing in its offer and customer experience, while staying true to its heritage’ in the coming years, the retailer said, with customers poised to ‘benefit from the strength of our group including its merchandise and e-commerce capabilities’.
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.