Loblaw Companies has released its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2018. Retail segment sales for the quarter increased by $181 million or 1.7 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2017.
Adjusted profit in retail grew 2.6 per cent to $3.25 billion. Same-store food retail sales grew 0.8 per cent while same store drug retail sales grew 1.9 per cent (pharmacy and front of store sales by 0.6 and 2.8 per cent respectively).
Revenue for the quarter was $11.218 billion, an increase of $226 million or 2.1 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2017. The company earned $1.07 per share, ahead of analyst expectations.
Quarterly results were negatively impacted by minimum wage increases and health care reform, the company said.
"We are pleased to deliver strong operational performance again this quarter, achieving our full year financial targets in a challenging year," said executive chair Galen G. Weston. “Our strategy has momentum and we are accelerating our investments to deliver customer and shareholder value over the long-term."
Loblaw also released its fiscal 2018 annual report. Adjusted net earnings grew by only 0.2 per cent and positive adjusted earnings per share grew 5.0 per cent, driven by a share buyback program. The spin off of Choice Properties in 2018 and the disposition of gas bar operations in 2017 had a negative impact on year over year financial performance in 2018.