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May 1 (Reuters) - Loblaw Cos Ltd, Canada's largest food retailer, said it plans to transfer about C$7 billion ($6.96 billion) of property assets to a real estate investment trust (REIT) that will be spun off in an initial public offering in July.
The company, majority-owned by George Weston Ltd, also reported a 40 percent rise in first-quarter profit to C$171 million, or 61 Canadian cents per basic share, from C$122 million, or 43 Canadian cents per basic share, a year earlier.
The results included a gain of 13 Canadian cents per share related to defined benefit plan amendments, the company said.
Total sales rose about 3 percent to C$7.04 billion. Sales at established locations, a key measure for retailers, rose 2.8 percent.