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Loblaw Q1 profit up nearly 40% year over year

Canada's largest grocer says it will raise its quarterly dividend as profit available to shareholders totalled $437 million
Signage on the Loblaws grocery store on Lower Jarvis Street and Queen's Quay on Toronto's waterfront

Loblaw Companies Ltd. reported its first-quarter profit rose nearly 40% compared with a year ago.

The grocery and drug store retailer says it will now pay a quarterly dividend of 40.5 cents per share, up from 36.5 cents per share.

The increased payment to shareholders came as the company reported its profit available to common shareholders totalled $437 million or $1.30 per diluted share for the 12-week period ending March 26 compared with $313 million or 90 cents per diluted share a year earlier.

Revenue for the quarter totalled $12.26 billion, up from $11.87 billion in the same quarter last year.

Food retail same-store sales rose 2.1%, while drug retail same-store sales grew 5.2%, with pharmacy same-store sales up 6.8% and front store same-store sales up 3.6%.

On an adjusted basis, Loblaw says it earned $1.36 per diluted share, up from an adjusted profit of $1.13 per diluted share a year ago.

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