Loblaw posted a small sales gain and slightly lower earnings during the fiscal fourth quarter, citing the effects of cost reductions and subsequent pricing investments in a strong competitive environment.
"In a year of unprecedented retail square footage growth within an intensely competitive environment, we grew same-store sales, revenue and adjusted operating income," Galen G. Weston, executive chairman, said in a statement. "This was a result of remaining firmly focused on our strategy to invest in the customer proposition, while at the same time driving efficiencies in our business — particularly in administration and supply chain — as well as strong performance from [finance arm] President's Choice Financial."
For the quarter, which ended Dec. 28, Loblaw said revenues improved by 2.3% to $6.9 billion (U.S.). Retail sales were up by 1.8% and same-store sales improved by 0.6% — between 0.1% and 0.3% when adjusted for positive effects of the Thanksgiving holiday timing, and negative effects of a work stoppage and an ice storm.
For the fiscal year, Loblaw sales totaled $29.2 billion (U.S.), an increase of 2.4%, with retail sales up by 2.1% and same-store sales improving by 1.1%. Net earnings of $163 million (U.S.) were down by 1.1% as compared to the same period a year ago.
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