TORONTO — Loblaw Cos. here said Friday that the five-point plan it is implementing has it on track to catch up within six to nine months with the five-year plan it laid out in 2005, but on which it has fallen behind. Citing the progress Loblaw made in the last few months, Allan L. Leighton, president and deputy chairman, said, “We can build the sales momentum the business requires, and I’m confident we’ll get ourselves back on track within six to nine months.” He made his remarks to analysts during a conference call to discuss financial results for the second quarter and first half, ended June 14. Net income for the 12-week quarter jumped 17.6% to $137.4 million (U.S.), while sales rose 1.5% to $6.9 billion and comparable-store sales were up 0.7%, including fuel. For the 24-week half, net income increased 16.8% to $198.2 million, while sales rose 2.1% to $13.3 billion and comps rose 1.6%, including fuel. The company does not break out food comps alone. Excluding the favorable impact of a gain on the sale of investments and a year-over-year change in restructuring costs, the company said, earnings would have been down on a comparable basis.
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