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Safeway helps boost Sobeys' same-store sales

Empire Company release 2015 second quarter results

Empire Co. Ltd. parent of supermarket chain Sobeys Inc., exceeded analyst expectations with the release of its second quarter numbers this morning.

The company reported adjusted net earnings from continuing operations and net of non-controlling interest, were $128.2 million or $1.39 per diluted share in its fiscal 2015 second quarter.

This was up from $83.4 million, or $1.22 per diluted share in the second quarter last year, representing a 13.9% increase on a per share basis.

Same-store sales also rose an impressive 1.7%.

Marc Poulin, president and CEO of Sobeys, attributed the growth to the acquisition of Canada Safeway combined with Sobeys’ sales and merchandising initiatives. The Nova Scotia-based retailer acquired Safeway last year. Now one year into their three-year integration plan, Poulin says they have hit every target they've set so far and are very confident in their integration plan.

“We realized synergies from the Canada Safeway acquisition of $31.5 million in the quarter and are on schedule with our integration plan,” he said. “We remain focused on the ongoing promotion of our food-focused culture, while continuing to secure operational efficiencies and cost reductions across the organization.”

Poulin said he expects Safeway systems to be fully integrated with Sobeys by spring of 2015.

"We're trying to integrate private label products, and many Our Compliments products are making their way to Safeway stores," he said on a conference call with analysts. "Integrating the programs of Safeway and Sobeys won't happen in a flash - it takes time." When it comes to private label products, Poulin said they are taking the best of both programs based on the SKU and supplier base.

Poulin also said falling gas prices are usually good for the business, adding he hopes customers are willing to spend the dollars they're saving at the grocery store.

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