November 17, 2010 / 12:41 PM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 1-Metro Q4 profit beats market estimates

* Q4 EPS C$0.88 vs est C$0.84

* Revenue up 1 percent

Nov 17 (Reuters) - Metro Inc MRUa.TO reported a stronger fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday, beating market estimates, helped by improved store operations.

Canada's No. 3 grocer said earnings climbed to C$93.4 million, or 88 Canadian cents a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 25, from C$84.4 million, or 77 Canadian cents a share a year ago.

Analysts on average expected a profit of 84 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Metro, which operates over 600 supermarkets in Ontario and Quebec, said sales were up 1 percent at C$2.56 billion.

However, sales at stores open for at least a year were down 0.5 percent as the company saw food price deflation in certain product categories and continuing consumer caution.

"Although the economic and competitive environments remain challenging, we are confident that we can continue to grow in 2011," Chief Executive Eric La Fleche said in a statement.

Metro shares, which have gained a percent in value since the company renewed its share buyback program in September, closed at C$46.23 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Solarina Ho in Toronto and Isheeta Sanghi in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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