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Inflation, Expansions Pace Sobeys’ Q1 Results

STELLARTON, Nova Scotia — Modest inflation, new stores and store expansions helped Sobeys post a 3.3% sales gain and a 3.6% increase in net-earnings contribution during the fiscal first quarter that ended Aug. 6, according to financial results released here Wednesday by Sobeys’ parent company, Empire Cos.

Sobeys earned $82.4 million on sales of $4.1 billion (U.S.). Same-store sales increased by 1.7%.

In a conference call discussing results, Bill McEwan, chief executive officer of Sobeys, said he anticipated that margins would be under pressure as price competition flares up in various markets including Western Canada, where Sobeys is implementing a lower everyday pricing program in response to competitive activity.

“I think we are going to see either self-imposed or competitively imposed continued pressures on pricing,” McEwan said. “We intend to continue to sustain our competitive pricing position, and that will have downward pressure on margins.”