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Metro sales inch up, earnings fall as deflation impacts 1Q

Store conversions also slow quarterly sales

Metro Inc. on Tuesday said sales increased slightly and earnings dipped against a backdrop of price deflation and intensifying competition during its fiscal first quarter.

The Montreal-based retailer said sales improved by 0.3% to around $2.2 billion (U.S.), with same-store sales up by 0.7% for the 12-week period ended Dec. 17.

Net income of $100.2 million (U.S.) was down 1.7% from the same period last year.

Metro said its aggregate food basket experienced deflation of 1% versus an inflation of 2.8% last year, “which largely explains our lower sales growth.”

Other factors that negatively influenced sales were the discontinuation of a supply agreement with network of hospitals in its pharmaceutical business, and by the closure of some conventional Metro stores that have not yet reopened under its discount format.

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