Empire Co profit falls 6 percent on one-time charge
(Reuters) - Empire Co Ltd (EMPa.TO: Quote), parent of Canada's No. 2 grocer Sobeys, reported a 6 percent fall in quarterly profit after taking a one-time charge related to an equity accounted investment.
Net earnings fell to C$75.2 million ($73.2 million), or C$1.11 per share, in the third quarter from C$80 million, or C$1.17 per share, a year earlier.
The company booked a one-time charge from an equity accounted investment of C$4.8 million.
On an adjusted basis, the company earned C$1.17 per share while Sobeys' contribution to adjusted earnings, excluding minority interests, rose 8 percent.
Sales rose 9 percent to C$4.34 billion. Sobeys same-store sales, a key measure for retailers, rose 1.2 percent.
Sobeys, which ranks behind Loblaw Cos Ltd's L.TO Loblaws chain, contributed almost 9 percent to sales at C$4.28 billion, up from C$3.94 billion a year earlier.
Gross margin at Sobeys fell to 22.93 percent from 24.11 percent a year earlier, the company said.
Analysts on average expected earnings of C$1.15 per share on revenue of C$4.30 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
No. 2 U.S. discount retailer Target Corp (TGT.N: Quote) is opening its first Canadian stores in 2013. Grocery retailers in Canada, including Loblaw and Metro Inc (MRU.TO: Quote), already compete with an expanding Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote). Continued...