Empire Company Limited's latest positive earnings show that the company's growth initiatives are paying off. Financial results for the third quarter ended February 1, 2020 recorded an adjusted net earnings increase of nearly 70 per cent compared to the same period last year, growing from $72.9 million to $123.7 million, and a 1 per cent increase in same-store sales (excluding fuel same-store sales rose 0.8 per cent).
"We are pleased with our progress. Our execution has markedly improved and we continue to grow our bottom-line much faster than our major competitors," said Michael Medline, president & CEO, Empire. "Project Sunrise is on track and the momentum continues with our expansions of FreshCo in the West and Farm Boy in Ontario, as well as the upcoming launch of Voilà in the GTA. And in May, we will unveil our next three-year plan."
Empire is in the final year of Project Sunrise. The strategy is on track and yielding benefits that are expected to exceed management's initial expectations. The Company realized approximately $100 million of these benefits during fiscal 2018 through organizational design, strategic sourcing cost reductions and improvements in store operations. In fiscal 2019, the Company realized a further approximate $200 million of benefits, driven by initial rollouts of category resets and cost reductions in other areas.
For fiscal 2020, management expects to achieve at least $250 million of in-year benefits for a cumulative benefit of at least $550 million, an increase in its original projection for the three-year program. These in-year benefits for fiscal 2020 are expected to result from the completion of the rollout of the category reset program, as well as continued cost reductions and operational improvements.