GREECE: Delhaize coy amid link to Aldi stores
Delhaize had 216 stores in Greece at the end of first quarter of 2010, including Alfa-Beta chain
Delhaize, which owns the Alfa-Beta supermarket chain in Greece, has been linked to Aldi's business in the country, which comprises 38 stores.
Aldi said on Friday that it wanted to quit the market and was in talks to sell its outlets.
However, a Delhaize spokesman declined to comment directly on whether the retailer would make an offer for all or part of Aldi's business but said: "We are always looking at opportunities [in the region]."
Nonetheless, the spokesman said Delhaize is looking to expand "in the greater Balkan region" including Greece.
Delhaize, which at the end of the first quarter of the year had 216 stores in Greece, is looking at the "long-term" potential of the country's retail sector instead of being swayed by the problems affecting the local economy, the spokesman explained.
"Greece is a market that is still fragmented in two ways," he said. "A lot of food is still purchased in open markets. Organised retail has still a long way to go and there is a lot of room for growth.
"If you look at the top three retailers in the market, they have 30-40% of the market. In a country like Belgium, it is 75%."
Last week, Delhaize was linked to the acquisition of a stake in Serbian chain Delta Maxi.
The spokesman maintained Delhaize's policy of refusing to be drawn on Delta Maxi and said: "We do not comment on rumours."
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