Loblaw on Thursday said sales increased by 2.3% for the fiscal fourth quarter, thanks in part to improving comps in food, while impairment charges sent net earnings down by 34.4%.
The figures were adjusted to account for an extra week in 2014’s fourth quarter.
"I am pleased to report that we continued to deliver against our financial plan in the fourth quarter and, on a comparable basis, we delivered positive same-store sales and stable margins, achieved growth in operating earnings, and our strong balance sheet allowed us to return capital to our shareholders through share repurchases," Galen G. Weston, executive chairman and president of the Brampton, Ontario-based chain, said in a statement.
Loblaw’s food retail segment saw comp sales improve by 3.1% during the quarter. Drugstore comps improved by 5%. "The company continues to execute on its strategic framework and purpose of ‘Live Life Well’ — consistently delivering the best in food, best in health and beauty, operational excellence, and growth,” Weston said. Our relentless focus on this framework has positioned us to achieve our financial plan amidst a competitive environment and continued pressures from healthcare reform.”
Revenue for the period, which ended Jan. 2, was around $8 billion (U.S.). Net earnings available to common shareholders of around $94 million (U.S.), decreased by 34.4% from the same period last year. Earnings were impacted by impairment charges for certain drug items held for sale, as well as expenses to transition certain grocery stores to more efficient operating models as a recent of a a labor agreement.
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