STELLARTON, Nova Scotia — Despite encountering challenges of rapid price deflation and price competition, Sobeys eked out small gains in same-store sales and operating income during the fiscal third quarter.
The results came despite Sobeys cycling a year-ago period with 4% inflation and the benefit of a labor strike affecting one of its competitors, noted Bill McEwan, chief executive officer of Sobeys, speaking in a conference call Wednesday reviewing financial results of Empire Co., Sobeys’ parent company.
Food retail sales for the quarter, which ended Jan. 30, were $3.7 billion (U.S.), an increase of 0.9%, with same-store sales increasing by 0.3%. Price deflation during the quarter was about 1.5%, McEwan said vs. 4% inflation last year. Operating income of $97.7 million increased 0.7% compared with the same period last year, and net earnings improved 18% to $61.9 million.
McEwan credited Sobeys momentum to “a series of strategic, management and operational improvements we have made over the last several years,” including more effective labor management, more efficient distribution and nimble pricing and promotional programs.
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