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Empire reports Q4 profit and sales up, raises dividend

Sobeys' parent gets a boost from pandemic-related shopping during its fourth quarter

Empire Co. Ltd. raised its dividend as it reported a fourth-quarter profit of $177.8 million, up from $122.1 million in the same quarter last year, as shoppers stocked up due to the pandemic and sales rose.

The parent company of Sobeys and Safeway grocery stores in Canada says it will now pay a quarterly dividend of 13 cents per share, up from 12 cents.

The increased payment to shareholders came as Empire said its profit amounted to 66 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended May 2, up from 45 cents per diluted share a year earlier.

Sales totalled $7.01 billion, up from $6.22 billion, while same-store sales rose 15%.

On an adjusted basis, Empire said it earned $181.2 million or 67 cents per diluted share for the quarter, up from an adjusted profit of $126.5 million or 46 cents per diluted share a year ago.

Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of 62 cents per share, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

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