Retailer Delhaize has blamed the weak dollar for a drop in sales for the second quarter of 2005.

Net sales and other revenues came to €4.591bn (US$5.69bn) in the quarter, compared with €4.594bn in the same period last year. Net profit from continuing operations fell to €77.2m from €107.2m a year ago

"As we indicated earlier this year, the second quarter of 2005 proved to be a challenging one for Delhaize Group", said Pierre-Olivier Beckers, president and CEO. "We knew we would be facing a strong base of comparison and had planned for higher operating expenses on a temporary basis because of different long-term strategic initiatives such as Victory, Sweetbay and Food Lion's market renewals. But due to the continued competitive environment in our key markets and soft economic conditions in Belgium, our results were below our own sales and profit expectations."

"However, from the month of June and continuing into the third quarter, we are seeing improving sales trends in the US which will support a better performance in the second half of 2005. We are pleased with the recent sales performance of Food Lion as a result of our price and promotion activity and other sales building initiatives. These positive trends at Food Lion, the contribution of the acquisitions Victory and Cash Fresh, and a lower base of comparison in the second half year give us confidence in our full year guidance," he said.