MONTREAL — Price deflation driven by intense competitive activity contributed to flat same-store sales and decreased earnings during the fiscal fourth quarter, Metro Inc. here said Tuesday.
Overall sales of $2.6 billion (U.S.) decreased by 0.5% for the 12-week period, which ended Dec. 18. Net earnings fell 6.2% to $98.1 million, but improved by 3.7% when adjusted for an income tax decrease and non-recurring expenses, the company said. EBITDA decreased by 0.6% during the quarter but remained flat as a percent of sales at 6.9%.
“We grew adjusted net earnings in the first quarter despite experiencing continued food deflation due mostly to increased competitive activity,” Eric La Flèche, president and chief executive officer of Metro, said in a statement. “The rollout of our Metro & Moi loyalty program across Quebec has met our objective and we are confident that this program will allow us to differentiate ourselves in the years to come.”