An inefficient supply chain was a central factor in the losses incurred by Belgium-based retailer Delhaize in Germany, industry sources have told just-food.

Delhaize, the retailer behind the Food Lion and Hannaford stores in the US, said earlier today (14 July) that it would leave the German market after agreeing to sell its stores there to local player Rewe.

Delhaize said its four stores in Germany had made a "small" operating loss in 2008, despite sales of EUR19.5m (US$27.3m) last year.

Central to those losses was the lack of a warehouse in Germany, which meant Delhaize had to move its goods from Belgium to its stores in the German cities of Aachen and Cologne, the sources said.

Rewe refused to comment on how it plans to get the four stores into the black. The retailer said, however, that the acquisition would boost its business in the west of Germany.