FOOD LION PRESSING AHEAD WITH EXPANSION, CHAIRMAN SMITH SAYS VALUE STRATEGY POSITIONS FIRM FOR GROWTH
SALISBURY, N.C., May 6 /PRNewswire/ --Food Lion (NASDAQ-NMS: FDLN) Chairman Tom Smith told shareholders today that their company was already on its way back from a difficult 1992 and said the company intended to press ahead with its expansion by providing consumers the best value in the grocery business. "At Food Lion, we have been toughened by the turmoil of the past year. We are positioned for growth with the size, distribution network and organizational structure to compete and prosper. We are a better company today than a year ago, and we will be better still a year from now," Smith said in remarks to the annual shareholders meeting at Catawba College. "Our customers know we are committed to delivering the best value for their dollar. We are going to continue to offer the extra low prices that have been our guiding principle for a quarter of a century. That philosophy has won us millions of loyal customers and fueled a terrific record of growth." Smith noted that over the past 10 years, Food Lion's annual earnings have climbed an average of 23.3 percent and that returns on 1992 earnings of $178 million exceeded the industry average. He attributed last year's slowdown to increased competition, weakness in the economy that forced shoppers to switch to lower-priced items, and a temporary sales drop as a result of unfavorable publicity in the year's final quarter. But he told shareholders there was reason for confidence. "We have a proven strategy -- extra low prices and value. It has given us a market niche, a good one that has stood the test of time. We have a loyal customer base, dedicated and hardworking employees, and a sound financial position," he said. "We have come off the canvass and are back on our toes. We are fighting back and we intend to give Food Lion a future that will make all of us proud."
Smith said Food Lion planned to open up to 110 additional stores in 1993 and would press ahead with a remodeling and renovation program at older facilities in its 14-state, 1,040-store operation. Last year, Food Lion added 131 stores. Food Lion has grown nearly fivefold in the past decade and is now the eighth largest grocery business in the United States.
He said Food Lion had thrived by emphasizing "value to our customers." "It's a winning strategy. It's one we've followed, and it's one we're sticking with," he added. Smith also expressed satisfaction with the company's health and safety standards and cited "the high ratings our stores consistently earn from health inspectors in every state where we operate." Smith was easily re-elected to his position as chairman of the board of directors. Shareholders also re-elected nine incumbent board members, including Smith, and named Livingstone College President Bernard Franklin to the board seat vacated by Food Lion co-founder Ralph Ketner. The current board now comprises: Tom E. Smith, Chairman Gui de Vaucleroy Jacques LeClercq Pierre Olivier Beckers Raymond-Max Boon Dan A. Boone Dr. Bernard W. Franklin E. Charles de Cooman D'Herlinckhove David E. Johnston John P. Watkins The shareholders also selected Big Six accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand as the company's independent auditor. -0- 5/6/93 /CONTACT: Mike Mozingo of Food Lion, 704-633-8250 ext. 2575/ (FDLN)
CO: Food Lion Inc. ST: North Carolina IN: REA SU: PER
CM -- CH007 -- 5511 05/06/93 13:41 EDT
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|Date:||May 6, 1993|
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