Metro reports Q1 profit of $203M

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Metro Inc. reported a first-quarter profit of $203.1 million.

The grocery and drugstore company says it will pay a quarterly dividend of 20 cents per share, up from 18 cents per share.

Metro reported its profit amounted to 79 cents per diluted share for the 12 weeks ended Dec. 22, compared with a profit of nearly $1.3 billion or $5.67 per diluted share for the same period a year earlier.

At that time, it benefited from the sale of its stake in Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. to help fund its deal to buy the Jean Coutu Group Inc.

On an adjusted basis, Metro says it earned $172.2 million or 67 cents per diluted share for its latest quarter, up from an adjusted profit of $126.7 million or 55 cents per diluted share a year earlier.

“We are very pleased with our first quarter results, which reflect strong execution of our business plans and the success so far of our combination with the Jean Coutu Group. In a very competitive market environment, we are well positioned to meet our customers’ high expectations and continue to create long-term value for our shareholders”, said CEO Eric R. La Flèche in a release.

Sales for what was the company’s first quarter totalled $3.98 billion, up from $3.11 billion a year earlier. The retailer also reported that its food same-store sales were up 3.2% while its pharmacy same-store sales were up 1.5%.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 68 cents per share for the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.