According to local reports, food retail group Delhaize may follow Carrefour’s lead and exit the Czech grocery sector. However, the supermarket operator has declined to confirm such speculation.

According to the company’s annual report, in 2004 Delhaize’s 97 supermarkets and convenience stores in the Czech Republic reported an operating loss of CZK185m (US$8.26m). Delhaize is due to report its 2005 earnings for the Czech market in June.

The Euro weekly reported that the group has held talks with potential buyers, including the UK’s Tesco and Germany’s Rewe Zentral.

The Delhaize Group’s communications manager Hans Michiels told just food that it was the company’s policy not to comment on what he termed “rumours or speculation around possible disposals or acquisitions.”