June 30, 2011 / 1:54 PM / in 6 years

UPDATE 1-Sobeys parent Empire profit up on lower tax rate

TORONTO, June 30 (Reuters) - Empire Co Ltd (EMPa.TO), parent of Canada's Sobeys grocery chain, reported a higher quarterly profit on Thursday, aided by an extra week of results and a lower tax rate.

The company, which increased its quarterly dividend by 12.5 percent, said the additional week accounted for about 8.2 percentage points of the 9.2 percent rise in fourth-quarter consolidated sales.

Net earnings for the fourth quarter ended May 7 rose to C$92.3 million ($95.2 million), or C$1.36 a share, from C$73.5 million, or C$1.07 a share, a year ago.

The addition of an extra week of results at its food retailing unit into the quarterly report and the lower income tax rate boosted earnings by C$17.2 million. ($1=0.97 Canadian) (Reporting by S. John Tilak; editing by Janet Guttsman)

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