UPDATE 1-Competition holds back Canadian grocer Loblaw's revenue

Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:46am EDT
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April 30 (Reuters) - Loblaw Cos Ltd, Canada's largest grocer, reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue in the face of increasing competition from expanding U.S. rivals.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Target Corp have expanded in Canada over the past year, challenging Canadian retailers such as Loblaw, Canadian Tire Corp Ltd and Metro Inc.

Loblaw, which has just completed its C$12.4 billion acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart Corp, said total revenue rose just over 1 percent to C$7.29 billion.

Retail same store sales grew by about 1 percent compared with a growth of 2.8 percent in the year-ago quarter.

Excluding one-off charges, the company earned C$139 million, or 49 Canadian cents per share, up slightly from C$134 million, or 48 Canadian cents per share a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected the company to earn 46 Canadian cents on revenue of C$7.32 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company raised its quarterly dividend by half a cent to 24.5 Canadian cents from a previous 24 cents.

Loblaw shares closed at C$45.80 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The stock has risen about 7 percent in the past three months, outperforming the stocks of Loblaw's smaller rivals Empire and Metro. Metro's stock has risen about 2 percent, while that of Empire has fallen about 6 percent in the same period. ($1 = 1.0966 Canadian Dollars) (Reporting by Ashutosh Pandey in Bangalore)