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Industry NewsMetro Q4: Food same-store sales up 6.8%, pharmacy sales increase 5.5%

Metro Q4: Food same-store sales up 6.8%, pharmacy sales increase 5.5%

Metro Inc. sales and earnings increased in its fourth quarter of fiscal 2023, ending September 30, 2023.

Sales were $5,071.7 million, up 14.4 per cent with food same-store sales climbing 6.8 per cent and pharmacy sales up 5.5 per cent.

However, Marie-Claude Bacon, vice president of public affairs and communications for Metro Inc., says the numbers reflect a 53-week fiscal instead of a 52-week fiscal and 13 weeks instead of 12 weeks in the fourth quarter, so the numbers don’t accurately represent the company’s financial performance.

Net earnings and fully diluted net earnings per share for the fourth quarter were up by 31.7 per cent and 37.1 per cent, “mostly due to a loss of impairment of the Air Miles loyalty program of $44.1 million (net of taxes) booked last year in the same quarter.”

As a result, adjusted net earnings and adjusted diluted net earnings per share were up 4.3 per cent and 7.6 per cent respectively. “These numbers are a more accurate representation of our operating performance during our fourth quarter,” notes Bacon.

In addition to this, the company’s current fiscal is a 53-week one versus 52-week and its fourth quarter had 13 weeks instead of 12, so excluding the extra 53rd week in 2023, the increase in sales was 7.6 per cent versus 9.7 per cent, and excluding the extra 13th week, fourth quarter sales were up 5.4 per cent versus 14.4 per cent.

“This reflects more accurately our performance year over year and quarter to quarter,” says Bacon.

Plans for 2024

Metro says it’s ramping up its new automated distribution centre north of Montreal and expanding its Montreal produce facility. And it plans to open the final phase of its automated fresh facility in Toronto in the Spring of 2024.

“While these investments position us well for continued long-term profitable growth, we are facing significant headwinds in fiscal 2024 as we incur some temporary duplication of costs and learning curve inefficiencies, as well as higher depreciation and lower capitalized interest,” notes Metro. “We will not fully absorb these additional expenses and we are currently forecasting operating income before depreciation and amortization and impairments of assets, net of reversals to grow by less than 2 per cent in fiscal 2024 versus the level reported in fiscal 2023, and adjusted net earnings per share to be flat to down $0.10 in fiscal 2024 versus the level reported in fiscal 2023. We expect to resume our profit growth post fiscal 2024 and are maintaining our publicly disclosed annual growth target of between 8 per cent and 10 per cent for net earnings per share over the medium and long term.”

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