The Belgian grocery retailer Delhaize Group, has reported a 4.5% drop in full year 2004 sales to E18bn, hit by the impact of the weaker dollar.

Sales for the fourth quarter dropped 8.9% to E4.4bn, while full year like-for-like sales grew 2.9%

For the coming year Delhaize has outlined capital expenditure totalling E600m, over 90% of which will be focused on its US operations where it plans to build a further 22 stores.

The company plans to open 70 new stores next year bringing its worldwide total to 2,635.