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Metro Sales Down Amid Canadian Competition

MONTREAL — Citing increased competition, Metro Inc. here said sales for its fiscal fourth quarter fell about 1.1% compared with the year-ago period, when adjusted for an extra week in 2012.

Sales of $2.48 billion (U.S.) were down about 8.8% from actual year-ago results, including the extra week. Same-store sales fell 1.8%.

“Sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 were impacted by intense competition, especially in Ontario, resulting from an increase in competitive square footage that exceeded market growth,” said Eric La Fleche, president and chief executive officer, Metro.


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Net income was down 42.4%, to about $80 million. However, adjusted net earnings from continuing operations were up 0.2%, to about $108 million, which La Fleche attributed to margin and operating cost controls.

For the full year, net income rose 47.5%, to $690 million — following a pre-tax gain of about $300 million on the sale of nearly half of the company’s stake in Couche-Tard — on a 2.4% decline in sales, to $10.9 billion. Excluding the 53rd week in fiscal 2012, sales were down 0.4%.

Read more: Metro, Dunnhumby Deliver Personalized Shopping Experience

Metro said it was focusing on continuing a restructuring of its operations in Ontario, where it is revamping the discount Food Basics banner with new signage and new price messaging.

La Fleche also said the company is hoping “get some traction” out of its enhanced loyalty program and digital platform.

“I think it's the right way to go, with what we're doing on the digital side with personalized offers,” he said in a conference call Wednesday.


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