Montreal-based retailer Metro Inc. on Tuesday reported its strongest quarterly same-store sales gains in more than five years, saying price inflation and effective merchandising strategies led to 3.9% comps in its fiscal first quarter, which ended Dec. 20.
The comps were the highest Metro has reported since the third quarter of 2009, Eric LaFleche, president and CEO, said in a conference call discussing the results. Metro estimated overall basket inflation of 3% during the quarter, while merchandising strategies including the remodeling on Food Basics discount stores in Ontario contributed to the stronger results.
“This strong performance can be attributed to several factors including our customer-first merchandising strategies, strong in-store execution, disciplined cost control, retail cap-ex investments and our Ontario store restructuring plan,” LaFleche said.
LaFleche said Metro's Super C discount banner in Quebec in coming weeks would get a similar remodeling program to the “always fresh, always great prices and always in stock” positioning at Food Basics.
Overall, Metro posted sales of around $2.3 billion (U.S.), an increase of 5.2%, while earnings improved by 13.4% to $90.2 million (U.S.). Metro also announced a 3-for-1 stock split effective Feb. 11 and a plan to increase its dividend in March.
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