Retailer Loblaw beats quarterly profit estimates

(Reuters) - Canadian retailer Loblaw Cos Ltd reported better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, as consumers shopped more at its pharmacies and food stores.

Loblaw, which sells everything from groceries to mobile connections, has been investing in technology to attract customers through personalized promotions as it faces intense competition from U.S. retail such as Walmart Inc and Inc.

For the third quarter ended Oct. 5, retail same-store sales in Loblaw’s food unit grew only 0.1%, hurt by Thanksgiving falling in the next quarter. Excluding the impact, food sales grew about 1%. Comparable sales at its drug unit rose 4.1%.

In July, the company had said its quarterly profit would be hit by Thanksgiving holiday moving to fourth quarter.

Net earnings attributable to common shareholders rose to C$331 million ($250.17 million), or 90 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter, from C$106 million, or 28 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned C$1.25 per share, beating the average analyst estimate of C$1.24 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Loblaw, a subsidiary of the biggest Canadian retail group George Weston, posted revenue of C$14.66 billion, a 2.3% rise from a year earlier.

Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli