Belgian retailer Delhaize posted a 7.5% decline in third quarter sales due to depressed consumer spending in the US which accounts for three-quarters of group turnover.

Delhaize, with flagship Food Lion chain and discounter Kash n' Karry Stateside, said total group sales fell to 5bn euros from 5.5bn last year. It also revised its sales forecast for 2002 from 1.5% to 2.5% down to 1% to 2%.

In Delhaize's home market, where it has opened five new stores, sales grew 8.5% to 857.6m but earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortsation dropped 13.5%. Poor weather was blamed which affected sales of high margin beer and barbecue products.

Central European and Asian sales were up 9.1% and 18%, respectively.