Metro Inc. on Monday said sales were flat in its first fiscal quarter, while same-store sales declined 0.5% and earnings also declined relative to a year ago.
Net income of $89 million (U.S.) was down about 15.4% relative to a year ago, which included some one-time gains in the year-ago period and one-time costs in the first quarter of 2014. Adjusted earnings from continuing operations were $93.2 million, down about 6% versus $99.4 million a year ago.
Metro also said new merchandising strategies led to a gross margin decrease in the most recent quarter, to 18.8% of sales, compared with 19% in the first quarter of 2013. The company’s share of earnings in Alimentation Couche-Tard was $13.1 million for the first quarter of 2014 compared with $19 million for the corresponding period of 2013. Metro sold nearly half of its investment in Couche-Tard in the second quarter of 2013.
Sales for the first quarter totaled $2.4 billion, essentially flat with year-ago levels.
"Competition remains intense and our merchandising strategies as well as our investments drove improved sales performance in the first quarter compared to the last two quarters of 2013,” said Eric R. La Flèche, president and CEO, who noted that the company is increasing its annual dividend by 20%.
Read more: Marketing at Metro: From Insights to Action
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