BRUSSELS — Executing its “New Game Plan” initiatives in a time of economic uncertainly has put Delhaize in “uncomfortable” position for the short term, Pierre-Oliver Beckers, Delhaize’s chief executive officer, told shareholders at the retailer’s annual meeting here Friday.
“We have started to cross the river and we know we will be stronger, for the long term, on the other side,” Beckers said in a speech. “But right now we are in the midst of the river and our position is uncomfortable.”
Delhaize’s New Game Plan includes reinforcing its banners including a new branding and lower prices at is U.S.-based Food Lion division, entering new markets, developing new formats including the discounter Bottom Dollar in the U.S., and funding the investments through cost reductions. Beckers said he was confident that the initiatives were working while acknowledging the economic and competitive environment “has made things more complicated in the near term.”
He said the company would look to additional cost reductions and would curtail investments to increase working capital for the remainder of the 2012 fiscal year. He confirmed previous financial guidance for the year.
Shareholders at the meeting approved the appointment of Shari Ballard as an independent director, and approved the renewal of board terms for Beckers, Didier Smits and Claire Babrowski.