Cost-U-Less Helps Boost North West Co. Results

The North West Co. said yesterday the acquisition of Cost-U-Less in December, combined with strong sales growth in northern Canada, helped boost sales for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31 by 21.1% to $313.4 million (U.S.), including a 19.4% jump in overall food sales.

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The North West Co. here said yesterday the acquisition of Cost-U-Less in December, combined with strong sales growth in northern Canada, helped boost sales for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31 by 21.1% to $313.4 million (U.S.), including a 19.4% jump in overall food sales. Earnings for the quarter rose 15.7% to $18.6 million. For the year, sales rose 12.7% to $1.05 billion, with food sales up 11.9% and net earnings up 27.4% to $62.1 million. Cost-U-Less encompasses 12 midsize warehouse stores in Hawaii, the South Pacific and the Caribbean. During a conference call with analysts, Edward S. Kennedy, president and chief executive officer of The North West Co., said the opening of a Cost-U-Less on Grand Cayman Island was “phenomenal — though sales fell to more realistic levels after the opening — and we feel good about moving into Aruba, which will be a new market.” The company is allocating $1.5 billion in capital to Cost-U-Less, some of which will be used to clean and brighten the stores, Kennedy said, “before we start to look at merchandising programs later in the year, to see if financial services or durable goods make sense for that operation.”

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