Metro Inc. sales grow in first full quar­ter with Jean Coutu

Calgary Herald - - FINANCIAL POST - ALEK­SAN­DRA SAGAN

Metro Inc. saw sales grow more than 15 per cent in its first full quar­ter since ac­quir­ing the Jean Coutu Group phar­macy chain.

“The Jean Coutu in­te­gra­tion plan is on track,” CEO Eric La Fleche said Wed­nes­day dur­ing a con­fer­ence call with an­a­lysts.

The gro­cery re­tailer ac­quired the phar­macy op­er­a­tor in May 2018 for about $4.5 bil­lion.

The ac­qui­si­tion helped boost Metro’s sales by 15.7 per cent to $3.74 bil­lion for its fourth quar­ter, a 12-week pe­riod end­ing Sept. 29, com­pared to the same quar­ter the pre­vi­ous year, which lasted 13 weeks.

Sales rose 2.5 per cent ex­clud­ing Jean Coutu and the ex­tra week. Food same-store sales, a key re­tail met­ric, in­creased 2.1 per cent, while phar­macy same-store sales ad­vanced 1.8 per cent.

Jean Coutu phar­ma­cies have started to carry some of Metro’s pri­vate-la­bel Se­lec­tion and Ir­re­sistibles prod­ucts, La Fleche said.

Metro gro­cery stores soon will stock some of Jean Coutu’s pri­vate la­bel per­son­al­care and beauty line.

“I think we have some time ahead of us to re­al­ize the full po­ten­tial of this com­bi­na­tion,” La Fleche said.

The com­pany also is do­ing some tests with of­fer­ing fresh food at Jean Coutu.

“It po­si­tions us bet­ter than ever to ser­vice, es­pe­cially Que­bec cus­tomers, for their ev­ery­day needs,” he said, adding hope­fully they’ll shop at Metro’s stores daily for food, as well as health and beauty needs.

The com­pany earned $145 mil­lion in the quar­ter, amount­ing to 56 cents per di­luted share. That’s com­pared with a profit of $154.9 mil­lion or 66 cents per di­luted share in the same quar­ter last year.

On an ad­justed ba­sis, Metro says it earned $161 mil­lion or 63 cents per share in the quar­ter, up from $131.1 mil­lion or 56 cents per share a year ago.

An­a­lysts on av­er­age had ex­pected a profit of 63 cents per share, ac­cord­ing to Thom­son Reuters Eikon.

For the full year, the com­pany’s net earn­ings surged to $1.72 bil­lion on $14.4 bil­lion in rev­enues, up from $608.4 mil­lion on $13.2 mil­lion in rev­enues in 2017.

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