George Weston Limited has announced its financial results for the third quarter of 2018. On an adjusted basis the company earned $288 million in the quarter, compared with $277 million in the same quarter a year ago, beating expectations. Revenue was $101 million for the quarter and sales were up 1.5 per cent compared with the same quarter last year.
Loblaw quarterly sales were $14,453 million, an increase of $261 million, or 1.8 per cent compared with the same period in 2017, while sales at Weston Foods declined 5.7 per cent.
Loblaw same-store food retail sales grew 0.9 per cent. Same-store drug retail sales grew 2.5 per cent. Sales at Weston Foods were $630 million, a decrease of $38 million or 5.7 per cent compared to the same period in 2017.
“For the full year 2018 Weston Foods expects sales to trend in a similar fashion to the first half of 2018 when compared to last year,” said Richard Dufresne, president and CFO. “Sales are expected to be negatively impacted by volume declines including the loss of sales from key customers, and the continued effect of product rationalization.”
Chairman and CEO Galen Weston said that the company is pleased with the performance of Loblaw, “where our strategy continues to build momentum,” but that Weston Foods continues to perform below expectations.
“We are one year into an ambitious plan and it has had mixed results,” he said. “Although we remain optimistic, we have taken decisive action to slow the pace of change so that management can focus on the top line. While the program has improved our ability to manage costs and to simplify the business, not all the benefits have flowed to the bottom line. We have fallen short on customer service that has adversely impacted our sale. Put simply, we are not yet operating at the high standard that we expect of ourselves."
Net earnings per common share were down to $0.40 from $2.85. The company is raising its quarterly dividend to 51.5 cents per common share, an increase of 2.5 cents.
Further details including the full Q3 report are available at the George Weston Ltd. website.