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Loblaw sees 1Q uptick in revenue, profit

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TORONTO — Loblaw Cos. reported improved sales, earnings and operating results for its fiscal 2010 first quarter.

Loblaw Cos. reported improved sales, earnings and operating results for its fiscal 2010 first quarter.

The Canadian supermarket and drug retailer and wholesaler said Tuesday that first-quarter sales totaled $6.93 billion (Canadian), up 3.1% from $6.72 billion a year earlier.

Loblaw noted that sales growth in food was flat but modest in the pharmacy category, Meanwhile, sales growth in apparel was strong and sales of other general merchandise declined significantly, according to the company. Higher fuel prices helped lift sales, while internal retail food price deflation negatively impacted revenue.

In addition, first-quarter sales reflect a positive impact of 2% from the acquisition of T&T Supermarket Inc., which was completed in the 2009 third quarter, Loblaw said.

Same-store sales inched up 0.3% in the 2010 first quarter, down from 2.1% a year ago. Loblaw reported that sales and same-store sales growth were positively impacted by
approximately 0.5% as a result of a labor issue during the first quarter of 2009 in certain Maxi stores in Quebec.

On the earnings side, net income surged 25.7% in the 2010 first quarter to $137 million, or 50 cents per share, from $109 million, or 40 cents per share, in the prior-year period. Operating income also was up, climbing 15% to $260 million from $226 million a year ago. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the 2010 quarter also was up about 15% to $412 million from $358 million a year earlier.

Loblaw said that during the first quarter, it opened two stores and closed six stores, for a net decrease of 0.1 million square feet, or 0.1%. Over the last four quarters, 40 stores were opened, including 17 acquired T&T stores, and 31 stores were closed, resulting in a net increase of 0.7 million square feet, or 1.3%.

The retailer operates stores across Canada under such banners as Loblaws, Maxi, Provigo and Zehrs.



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