Officials of Metro Inc. said Wednesday they expect to begin testing an e-commerce offering in 2016.
“When the consumer is ready for that, we’ll be ready,” Eric LaFleche, CEO of the Montreal-based retailer, said in a conference call discussing financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Sept. 26. “A big part of the Metro banner is convenience, and for a portion of the population, e-commerce might be the most convenient way to shop.”
LaFleche didn’t share details about a launch date or other particulars but said the company has been involved in digital marketing with shoppers for some time, so “we’re well-positioned to compete.”
Metro for the period posted earnings of around $98.9 million (U.S.) on sales of around $2.1 billion (U.S.). Sales were up by 4.5%, comps increased by 3.4% driven in part by food inflation of around 2.8%, while net earnings were up by 13.9%.
For the fiscal year, Metro sales improved by 5.5% to $9.2 billion (U.S.).
“We are very pleased with our fourth quarter results to close an outstanding fiscal 2015. Strong top-line growth for the year exceeded inflation, gross margins increased and expenses were well controlled, all resulting in record operating income and net earnings,” LaFleche said. “All of our food store banners performed well in the quarter with aggregate higher customer accounts, average baskets and tonnage. Although the industry’s square footage growth has certainly slowed down, the market environment remains highly competitive and very promotional.”
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