Retailers' results rise despite hard times

Thu Nov 6, 2008 2:41pm EST
 
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By Scott Anderson

TORONTO (Reuters) - Two of Canada's top retailers reported a jump in third-quarter results on Thursday as same-store sales climbed despite the effects of a global economic downturn.

The results could bode well for the big chain stores as they gear up for the holiday shopping season, a crucial time for the sector that pundits expect will be significantly slower than normal.

"The results were as good as or better than expected, which in this kind of market is good," said John Kinsey, a portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities.

Canadian Tire Corp reported a 6 percent boost in profit as the country's biggest household goods and auto parts retailer weathered the economic downturn with a 2 percent increase in same-store sales over last year.

Also on Thursday, Shoppers Drug Mart, Canada's biggest pharmacy chain, posted a 14.8 percent jump in third-quarter profit as sales jumped almost 10 percent, bolstered by its pharmacy division. Closely watched same-store sales rose 5 percent, excluding tobacco products.

The impressive results came as a number of U.S. retailers posted their worst October sales data in this decade, with department stores and apparel retailers taking the hardest hit.

Canadian Tire said on Thursday it earned C$108.6 million ($92.7 million), or C$1.33 a share, up from C$102.5 million, or C$1.25 a share, in the same period last year.

Adjusted net earnings for the quarter, which excludes non-operating gains and losses, came in at C$1.42 a share.   Continued...