UPDATE 2-Loblaw raises outlook in tough Canadian retail market

Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:07am EDT
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* Second-quarter earnings per share C$0.63 vs estimate C$0.58

* Revenue rises 2 percent, same-store sales up 1 pct

* Sees 2013 operating income to grow in mid-single digits, percentage-wise

* Says competition increasing in Canadian retail

* Shares rise as much as 2 pct

By Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay

July 24 (Reuters) - Loblaw Cos Ltd reported a higher quarterly profit as food and clothing sales rose throughout its stores, prompting Canada's largest grocer to raise its full-year operating income forecast in defiance of tougher competition.

Loblaw, which is buying Shoppers Drug Mart Corp to bulk up against an influx of U.S. competitors, said profit rose 14 percent in the second quarter. Sales growth was strongest in its clothing line and its gas-station network.

The company forecast 2013 operating income would grow, percentage-wise, in the mid-single digits. Previously, it had forecast modest or low-single-digit growth.   Continued...