Belgian retailer Delhaize has said it is weathering strong competition in its home market and is considering expanding to Germany.

Delhaize recently opened a supermarket in Aachen, a German city near the border with Belgium. The success of that supermarket will help determine whether the retailer will expand further in Germany.

“We have to give the supermarket some time to prove it can perform well,” said Arthur Goethals, chief executive of Delhaize Belgium, in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires.

Germany’s retail market is mostly made up of discount chains such as Lidl and Aldi. While Delhaize supermarkets would charge higher prices, they would also offer a wider selection of goods.

“Nobody has the same format in Germany as Delhaize,” added spokeswoman Catherine Alexandre.

Despite fierce competition from French retailer Carrefour and Belgian discount retailer Colruyt, Delhaize’s market share in Belgium rose to 25.34% in the first quarter of 2003 from 25.03%.

“Our target is a 26% market share by the end of the year,” Goethals said.

The company plans to open a further 50 convenience stores in Belgium in 2003.