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Q2 Sales Up, Margins Down at Sobeys

STELLARTON, Nova Scotia — Sobeys posted a modest gain in sales and lower profits during the fiscal second quarter, its parent company Empire Cos. said Thursday.

Sales of $4.1 billion (U.S.) increased by 2% for the quarter, which ended Nov. 2. Same-store sales increased by 0.2%. Officials said the sales gain reflected investment in its store network and merchandising initiatives, but sales were impacted by low inflation and increased competition.


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Companywide net earnings of $159 million (U.S.) increased by 84%, due mainly to the sale of 46 movie theaters, which was announced in June. Earnings in Empire’s food retailing segment decreased by 32.5% to $56.3 million in the quarter.

"In the second quarter, we achieved same-store sales growth in an environment which remains very competitive,” Marc Poulin, president and chief executive officer of Sobeys, said in a statement. “Although the current market dynamic did impact our overall gross margin, the impact on our adjusted net earnings was largely offset as a result of operating cost control.”

Poulin, who is also president and CEO of Sobeys, said the company had begun the integration of Safeway Canada, which it acquired earlier this year, and was advancing its business through its “Better Food for All” health and wellness initiative and new formats including its first Sobeys Extra store which opened recently in Burlington, Ontario. Sobeys is also planning a new small format banner in Quebec called IGA Express. It described it as “a cross between a supermarket, convenience store and a fast food restaurant.”

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