Belgian retailer Delhaize Group’s Bottom Dollar Food store chain has been acquired by German discount store Aldi for $15m (£9.4m).

The 66-store acquisition of Bottom Dollar Food by Aldi is in line with its plans to expand in eastern US. The stores will remain as Bottom Dollar till the end of 2014, after which the banner will be retired. Starting in the New Year, rebranding of the stores will be completed by 2015 first-quarter-end by Aldi.

Bottom Dollar’s Pennsylvania stores cover up to 20,000 ft2, which complement Aldi’s already existing chain of 1,300 stores in the US.

Aldi’s stores cover 23 states across the US including California, but the east accounts for most of its presence. In a strategy to double its number by 2018, Aldi is acquiring 130 shops per year.

Split into two distinct companies with separate ownership, Aldi also operates Trader Joe’s (a US discount grocery chain), which was acquired by the Aldi Nord division in 1979. The first US Aldi store, belonging to Aldi Sud, came up in 1976.

By the end of 2013, Delhaize ran 1,514 stores across 18 states, 1,113 of which functioned under Food Lion, the neighbourhood fascia grocery chain.

Delhaize boasts of a strong global presence, with over 3,500 stores worldwide, including 850 in Belgium and more than 1,200 running across South Eastern Europe.

In a vote of thanks, Delhaize Group president and CEO, Frans Muller, declared: "I would like to thank our Bottom Dollar Food associates for their hard work and dedication to their customers. The divestiture of Bottom Dollar Food further simplifies our business, increases debt capacity and creates shareholder value. Today´s announcement is consistent with our strategy, announced in March, of investing in and focussing on our core markets."