Metro Inc sales tick up in third quarter amid tough competition

MONTREAL — Metro Inc. reports third-quarter net earnings of $144.5 million and saw its sales tick up 1.4% in what the Quebec-based supermarket chain called a competitive environment.Metro posted $1.63 in diluted earnings per share, compared with $144.4 million in net earnings, or $1.49 per diluted share, for the same quarter of 2013.Sales were $3.62 billion, up from $3.57 billion year-over-year, helped by a reorganization of its Ontario stores.Same-store sales, which refers to stores that have been open for at least a year, were up 1% from the same quarter last year.Metro, Canada’s third-largest supermarket chain, is in tough competition with Loblaw, Sobey’s  and Costco, while its discount banners fend off U.S. banners Wal-Mart and Target.“We are satisfied with our third quarter results achieved in an environment that remains challenging,” CEO Eric La Fleche said Wednesday in a statement.RBC Dominion Securities analyst Irene Nattel said Metro’s results were in line with expectations. Nattel had expected $1.62 in diluted earnings per share while the analysts’ consensus was $1.64.Metro operates a network of almost 600 food stores under several banners including Metro, Metro Plus, Super C and Food Basics, as well as over 250 drugstores. It has annual sales of more than $11 billion and employs more than 65,000 people.The Canadian Press read more

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