June 4, 2018 – With a new Brand President, strong first-quarter results and aggressive growth plans, Delhaize Belgium is preparing for the future with a reinvented strategy and more efficient ways of working. And the stage is set for success.
"We have everything we need to be the preferred retailer in Belgium," said Brand President Xavier Piesvaux, who joined Delhaize last September, citing the brand's heritage, solid customer base, great locations and talented associates.
Still, Xavier readily admits that Delhaize needs to adapt in the face of rising competition. "We are changing on several fronts, including a renewed positioning for the brand building on historical strengths, opening or refurbishing stores, focusing on quality, taste, health and convenience, and responding even better to customer needs."
Delhaize's plans are taking shape following positive and encouraging Q1 results – a clear indication the brand is on the right track. Indeed, net sales in the quarter rose 5%, driving an increase in market share, with comparable sales up 4.1%. Further, all Delhaize store formats saw more transactions and higher basket sizes.
The new positioning – "Better eating is at the heart of better living" – has been launched since the beginning of this year with a multimedia campaign that includes advertising, in-store marketing, social media posts and interviews with Xavier by leading Belgian publications. The positioning was created based on extensive input from customers. "We listen more than ever to our shoppers to ensure we are meeting and exceeding their expectations," Xavier said.
Front and center to the new approach is Delhaize's commitment to offering healthier and more balanced food options to the brand's 5 million weekly customers. This includes reducing sugar, fat and salt content to create more healthful versions of shoppers’ favorite own-brand products, ranging from yogurt and lasagna to cereals and ice cream. "We want to improve the nutritional composition of these items while keeping the taste our customers love," Xavier said.
He added that the introduction of Nutriscore – a labeling system that shows the nutritional quality of products – is the latest example of how the brand is taking the lead in helping shoppers make informed decisions.
Great service is at the heart of the new positioning, starting with a renewed emphasis on associate engagement and professional development. The goal is to inspire and empower the brand's 32,000 integrated and affiliated associates, who in turn will provide customers with a friendly, welcoming shopping experience.
Growth, too, is on the horizon. Delhaize will renovate 90 of its 760 stores this year and will accelerate expansion – especially in urban areas – by opening 40 new stores and testing new formats and concepts, all with an eye on proximity and convenience.
"Our ambition is to create a seamless omni-channel journey by providing the best locations along with the proper digital tools and platforms to meet customers' evolving needs, whether they are shopping in our stores or ordering food products online for pick-up or home delivery," Xavier said. "Delhaize is ready for the future."