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Canadian grocer Metro, Inc. reported adjusted net earnings of CAN $84.1 million (US $68.4 million) in the first quarter of 2009, a 34.8 percent increase from the $62.4 million posted in 2008. Adjusted fully diluted net earnings per share grew by 40.7 percent to 76 cents vs. 54 cents last year.
First-quarter sales for 2009 came to CAN $2,600.5 million (US $2,115.0), up 3.7 percent compared with CAN $2,506.8 million (US $2,039.0) for the year-ago period. Excluding decreased sales of tobacco products and the effect of the non-renewal of a convenience store chain supply contract, 2009 first-quarter sales rose by 4.9 percent, while same-store sales grew by 3.5 percent.
Sales in the second, third and fourth quarters of 2008 vs. those for the corresponding quarters of 2007 were affected by increased competition in Ontario and lower sales of tobacco products. Excluding the decreased sales of tobacco products, 2008 second-, third-and fourth-quarter sales increased by 1.2 percent, 1.5 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, from 2007.
"Our growth in both sales and net earnings reflects our strong performance in Quebec and a marked improvement in our Ontario results," said Metro president and CEO Eric R. La Fleche. "Our Ontario supermarket conversion plan is on schedule, with 67 of the 159 stores converted to the Metro banner as of Jan. 23, 2009, and results to date are encouraging. Despite the difficult economic environment, we are well positioned in our markets and look forward to fiscal 2009 with confidence."