Empire reports third-quarter profit and sales up year over year

(CNW Group/Sobeys Inc.)

Empire Company Ltd. says it earned a profit of $176.3 million in its most recent quarter, up from $120.5 million a year earlier, boosted by higher sales.

The grocery chain that owns Sobeys and other banners says the profit amounted to 66 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Jan. 30, up from 45 cents per diluted share in the same quarter a year earlier.

The increase came as sales in what was the company's third quarter totalled nearly $7.02 billion, up from nearly $6.40 billion. Same-store sales excluding fuel increased by 10.7%.

Empire says the increase in sales was driven by the impact of COVID-19, market share gains and the expansion of its FreshCo banner in Western Canada and Farm Boy banner in Ontario.

The gains were partially offset by lower fuel sales and temporary store closures in Western Canada pending conversion to FreshCo.

Empire says its e-commerce businesses reported sales growth of 315% in the third quarter compared with the prior year.

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