Delhaize, the Belgium-based food retailer, is to open a discount store in the south of the country next year as consumers look for value amid the economic downturn.

The decision follows a similar move in Greece where Delhaize is planning to open the Lion Food Stores discount chain.

The company told just-food today (27 October) that the as-yet-unnamed "concept store" will open in the town of Gembloux, in the French-speaking part of Belgium.

Discount retailing in Belgium is fiercely competitive with the presence of Aldi, Lidl and local retailer Colruyt.

However, a spokesperson for Delhaize said the company would look to use its experience in running cut-price stores in Greece and in the US, where it owns chains including Bottom Dollar, at its fledgling domestic business.

Moreover, she insisted the Belgian store would not just focus on offering low prices to consumers. "We will focus on things like convenience and speed. Price will only be one element of the shop," the spokesperson said. "Like in all our stores, we will give a lot of service, which is something you cannot say of the hard discounters."

The spokesperson said Delhaize is looking at rolling out the store to other locations in Belgium in the future but said further details on the initial outlet would be unveiled when it opens early next year.