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Drug chain, inflation power Loblaw Q4

Loblaw’s acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart helped boost sales by 50% and profits by more than 100% during the fiscal fourth quarter, officials said Thursday.

For the quarter, which ended Jan. 3, the Brampton, Ontario, company reported overall sales of $9.1 billion (U.S.), a 50.5% increase from the same period last year. Net earnings totaled $197.2 million (U.S.). Excluding gas, tobacco and the effect of an extra week in the period, same store sales improved by 2.5%, primarily driven by inflation.

In a conference call discussing results, Galen Weston, Loblaw’s executive chairman, said the retailer would watch consumers closely to gauge its ability to continue passing along cost increases, particularly with a weak Canadian dollar.

For the 53-week fiscal year, Loblaw’s sales totaled $33.3 billion (U.S.), an increase of 32.1% from the 52-week 2013 fiscal year.

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