NEW YORK -- Global retailer Delhaize last week launched an international promotion intended to commemorate its growth and underline the levels of integration and synergies it has achieved.
The promotion -- a product-marketing campaign that cuts across all its worldwide markets -- is the latest aspect of a growing international cooperation among the various Delhaize food-retailing companies, said Pierre-Oliver Beckers, chief executive officer of the Belgium-based Delhaize, in an interview with SN here.
The promotion, which marks the company's passage this year over the 2,000-store mark, is a three-week campaign in nine of Delhaize's operating countries. In the United States, Delhaize is the controlling shareholder in Delhaize America, the newly formed holding company that includes Food Lion and Kash n' Karry Food Stores. The event kicked off Sept. 8 and is to run for about three weeks.
It will include a focus on products from seven global suppliers at attractive prices. Suppliers include Kellogg Co., Nestle, Unilever, Mars, Coca-Cola Co., Procter & Gamble Co. and L'Oreal.
Another element of the campaign highlights products that are characteristic of the countries in which the Delhaize group operates. Each week several countries will be featured. The products will be characteristic of Belgium, Luxembourg, France, the United States, Greece, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.
For Food Lion and Kash n' Karry, in the first week products are being highlighted from the United States and Belgium, in the second week from Greece and Thailand, and in the third week from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and France.
Delhaize has sweetened the campaign by including sweepstakes open to frequent shoppers and those who fill out entry blanks. At Food Lion and Kash n' Karry, prizes include trips around the world and trips to Paris.
Called the "More Than 2,000 Stores Campaign," the program "shows how global our group is, and that we are a group in reality," said Beckers last week following a special shareholders meeting of Food Lion here. "It shows we are leaders in the globalization of the industry."
The Delhaize group passes the 2,000-stores mark this year, when 219 stores are being added, an increase of 11.5%. Those additions bring the total to 2,123 stores, not including the 152 units the company would add from the acquisition of Hannaford Bros., which is still pending.
Beckers said the event is only one example of the group's leveraging of its size. "In the past five years we've gradually been increasing our networks -- our webs -- between the various companies," he said, while stressing that individual companies maintain their autonomy with individual managements and local strategies.
"But all our companies should be linked through common objectives and constant exchanges of best practices and development of synergies," he said.
"For instance, all our European companies -- and Asia -- utilize the same store-checkout equipment," he said. "All POS equipment is exactly the same.
"We've developed synergies in buying private label between Belgium, Greece and the Czech Republic, so there are things we're doing by region and things across the continents," he said.
The company's training program is also conducted on a global basis. "Executives from all the companies, including Asia, meet for intensive training," he said. And this week "a top-level meeting of all CEOs will focus on synergies."
Delhaize is also reporting success with an Intranet site used by all the companies. This controlled access site provides a wide range of information to users, including data on personnel across the various companies.
"So we're developing communications tools to help develop our synergies," Beckers said.
Other common programs at Delhaize include a category management effort in Belgium that borrows knowledge from U.S. companies and exchanges in inventory management knowledge, executives said.