Canada's grocer Metro boosts dividend

Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:59am EST
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(Reuters) - Canadian grocer Metro Inc MRU.TO increased its quarterly dividend by 16.3 percent, the company said in a statement late on Monday.

The Montreal-based firm declared a dividend of 25 Canadian cents (25 cents) a share, up from 21.5 Canadian cents last quarter.

The chain hosts its annual meeting and releases its fiscal first quarter earnings on Tuesday.

Last week, Metro said it would sell nearly half of its stake in convenience store and gasoline station operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc ATDb.TO for nearly C$479 million.

The chain and rivals like Loblaw Cos Ltd L.TO are facing rising competition as Wal-Mart Stores Inc WMT.N expands its grocery offerings in Canada. Wal-Mart rival Target Corp TGT.N is opening its first Canadian stores starting this spring, and it will also sell groceries.

(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)