TORONTO — Loblaw Cos. here said it eked out a same-store sales gain of 0.3% in the first quarter but profits improved for the period on reduced costs, improved productivity and other factors.
The company, the largest supermarket operator in Canada, posted net income of about $135 million (U.S.), a gain of 25.7%, on sales of $6.8 billion, up 3.1%, compared with the year-ago first quarter.
The company said tonnage sold in the quarter, which ended March 27, was about even with a year ago, but it saw increases in number of transactions and slight declines in average transaction value.
Loblaw attributed improved profit margins to “buying synergies, disciplined vendor management, a stronger Canadian dollar, improved inventory management and control-label profitability,” as well as reduced charges for stock-based compensation in the most recent quarter.
Sales were positively impacted by 2% by the acquisition of the T&T Supermarkets banner in the third quarter of a year ago, and by 0.5% by the positive impact of a labor strike at its Maxi stores in the year-ago first quarter, Loblaw said.
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