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Metro Posts Flat Sales, Wary Of Competition

April 24, 2013

Metro Inc., the third-largest grocer in Canada, announced Wednesday that quarterly sales dipped slightly from a year earlier, with same-store sales flat.

Metro CEO Eric La Fleche said in a release announcing the earnings that the company had its eye focused on a “competitive environment.”

“The competitive environment will remain challenging in the coming quarters, and we will continue to execute our customer-focused strategies and exercise good cost control to continue on our growth path,” he said in the release.

Second quarter sales totaled $2.51 billion Canadian, down from $2.58 billion a year earlier. Earnings, however, rose sharply as the company realized an after-tax gain on the sale of nearly half its stake of Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. Net earnings in the quarter nearly tripled to $366.8 million.

The Globe and Mail newspaper in Toronto reported that La Fleche told analysts on a conference call that the company was looking for growth after its flat same-store sales.

“While we’re not happy with that, there has been an unprecedented level of new store openings in the last six months, especially in Ontario,” La Fleche told analysts, according to The Globe and Mail. “Consumers remain very value conscious, fickle. They shop around, that’s for sure.”

Metro has more than 600 grocery stores and more than 250 drugstores in Canada.