Food Lion to close stores in Coastal Empire, Lowcountry - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Food Lion to close stores in Coastal Empire, Lowcountry

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Food Lion announced Thursday morning plans to close 113 underperforming stores in the United States.

Four Food Lion locations in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry are on the company's list of stores that will be closing. Stores in Garden City, Rincon, and two in Savannah located on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Eisenhower Drive are closing. A Hilton Head location is also closing.

The head of the Belgium-based Delhaize Group said in a company news release that the closing of the stores is in line with the company's longterm strategy.

"After a thorough review of our store portfolio, we have decided to close or convert a number of stores in the U.S. and in Southeastern Europe during the first quarter of 2012," Pierre-Olivier Beckers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Delhaize Group, said in a statement. "This decision is in line with our New Game Plan which is aimed at accelerating profitable growth. For a retailer, it is never an easy decision to close stores as we are fully aware of the impact on our associates, our customers and the communities we serve."

Beckers said the decision to close the stores came down to money.

"While we grew our revenues for the full year, we are disappointed in the fourth quarter revenues in the U.S. and Belgium," Beckers said in a statement. "Consumers continued to feel pressured in the fourth quarter due to the macro-economic environment and this led to a reduction in spending. We also encountered an increase in competitive activity. We are determined to further improve our price competitiveness in 2012, particularly in the U.S. and Belgium."

On Thursday morning, a new sign was on the front door of the Garden City location, stating it will close its doors by Feb. 15.

The closure will leave 4,900 employees out of work. Eligible employees will get a severance from the company.

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