February 21, 2019 / 12:08 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Canada's Loblaw profit beats estimates on retail sales

(Compares with estimates, adds Q4 details, background)

Feb 21 (Reuters) - Loblaw Cos Ltd reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, as more people shopped at the Canadian retailer’s food and drug stores.

In the face of stiff competition from Amazon.com Inc , Loblaw has been expanding its home delivery services in Canada, through its partnership with San Francisco-based online grocery chain, Instacart.

Adjusted gross profit in the retail segment, the company’s biggest, rose 2.6 percent to C$3.25 billion.

The company said retail same-store sales, both in the food and drug segments, grew 1.7 percent in the quarter.

Excluding items, the company earned C$1.07 per share, beating analysts’ average estimate of C$1.04 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net profit available to shareholders rose to C$221 million ($168 million), or 59 Canadian cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec.31, from C$31 million, or 8 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose to C$11.22 billion from C$10.99 billion.

$1 = 1.3189 Canadian dollars Reporting by Shradha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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