BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian supermarkets group Delhaize
However, the company also said it would be taking a 300 million euro ($398.9 million) one-off hit in the fourth quarter and a further 90 million euros in the first three months of 2013 related to a revaluation of its Maxi chain in the Balkans, the closure of 34 U.S. Sweetbay stores and U.S. management layoffs.
Delhaize, a leading supermarket chain in Belgium which makes about 65 percent of its sales in the United States, said fourth-quarter sales rose 2.3 percent to 5.763 billion euros ($7.66 billion), broadly in line with the 5.79 billion euros expected in a Reuters poll of eight analysts.
It has been a fiercely competitive end to the year across Europe and the United States, with retailers fighting over shoppers' dwindling budgets through deeper-than-expected discounts.
In the United States, where Delhaize runs Food Lion, Bottom Dollar and Hannaford chains, like-for-like sales were flat. Analysts had forecast a 0.7 percent decline.
Delhaize has revamped many of its Food Lion stores, its largest U.S. brand with a large presence in the sluggish southeast.
In Belgium, a competitive market with Carrefour
Delhaize said its underlying operating profit for the full year would be about 17.5 percent down on the 2011 level. It had previously given a 15-20 percent range, adding since August that the result most likely being at the lower end.
Earlier on Thursday, Dutch rival Ahold
(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek and Philip Blenkinsop)