MONTREAL — Quarterly and annual increases in sales and earnings validated Metro Inc.'s ongoing adoption of "customer centric" strategies, officials of the retailer here said Wednesday.
Net earnings improved 8.7% to $91 million (U.S.) for the fourth quarter and 10.4% to $383 million for the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 25.
Fourth-quarter sales of $2.5 billion (U.S.) improved 1.1% from the same period a year ago, while comparable-store sales improved by 0.5%. Annual sales of $11 billion increased 1.3%.
The results came amid price deflation, rising unemployment and a slowing economy in Canada, Metro officials noted. Effects of a joint venture with the data mining firm Dunnhumby, as well as a loyalty program introduced earlier this year in Quebec, have begun to help Metro succeed amid those trends, said Eric LaFleche, president and chief executive officer, said during a conference call discussing the results.
"Despite experiencing deflation for most of the year, the company was able to increase sales, margins and net earnings, driven by improved execution, effective merchandising and good cost control," LaFleche said. "The challenges of this marketplace reinforce our conviction that adopting a customer-first strategy is the right way to go."