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    Sobeys Second-Quarter Profits Rise on Sales

    STELLARTON, Nova Scotia - Sobeys, Canada's No. 2 grocery chain, said on Tuesday its second-quarter profit climbed 33 percent as sales improved.

    STELLARTON, Nova Scotia - Sobeys, Canada's No. 2 grocery chain, said on Tuesday its second-quarter profit climbed 33 percent as sales improved.

    Sobeys, which operates the Sobeys, Garden Market, IGA and Price Chopper banners, reported net earnings of C$46.6 million ($29.9 million), or 71 Canadian cents a share, in the quarter. That was higher than earnings of C$35.1 million, or 53 Canadian cents a share, in the second quarter of last year.

    Sales rose nearly 7.7 percent, or C$186 million, to C$2.61 billion, the company said in a statement.

    Sobeys said same-store sales rose 2.4 percent, including expanded stores.

    "We are pleased with our sales growth and solid profit performance in the second quarter. Our plan is right on track and we expect to achieve all of our fiscal 2003 operational and financial objectives," said Bill McEwan, president and CEO. "We are confident that our improved marketing and merchandising programs and continuous focus on disciplined cost management will continue to fuel our sales and earnings momentum."

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