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Sobeys Buys 250 Fuel Centers

STELLARTON, Nova Scotia — Empire Cos. here, parent of the Sobeys supermarket chain, said Thursday it has agreed to acquire about 250 gas stations in Atlantic Canada and Quebec from Shell Canada.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The company said the sites are expected to include both corporate- and dealer-owned locations.

"This is an exciting opportunity for us to grow our existing retail gas operations while leveraging our significant wholesale and convenience business," said Bill McEwan, president and chief executive officer, Sobeys,in a statement.

Sobeys also reported Thursday that operating income for its second fiscal quarter was up 8%, to about $106 million (U.S.), on a sales gain of 3.4%, to $3.85 billion, vs. year-ago results. Same-store sales rose 1.9%, which the company attributed to "modest" inflation, increased square footage and sales and merchandising initiatives.

Through 26 weeks, operating income at Sobeys rose 4.3%, to $236.8 million, vs. year-ago results. Year-to-date sales were up 3.3%, to about $7.81 billion.

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