Delhaize America expects to complete its acquisition of supermarket chain Hannaford Bros before August 1. The company agreed last year to pay $3.6bn for the 104 strong chain to create a supermarket giant straddling the eastern US seaboard. The news came as Delhaize America announced it sales rose 4% to $5.1bn in the first six months of this year. But earnings slipped from $127m to $125m. Sales growth in the second quarter was up 5.5%, with like for likes up 1.1%. This compares with 3% sales growth in the first quarter and a 1.8% fall in like for likes. The retailer launched new promotional campaigns at its Food Lion stores in the second quarter to boost sales into a highly competitive environment. While these promotions were effective, the mark downs hit its gross margins. Delhaize America boss Bill McCanless said: "The promotions were designed to reinforce our price leadership in all of our markets. We believe this drop in Food Lion's gross margins is a temporary condition and that the longer term margin trend remains favourable." Like for like growth is expected to average between 1% and 2% in the second half as the company continues investing in its promotional programmes. {{NEWS }}