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Total sales for Metro Inc. for its first quarter of fiscal 2022 climbed 0.9 per cent to $4,316.6 million versus last year, but were up 7.1 per cent versus 2020. Food same-store sales declined 1.4 per cent versus the previous year but were up 8.5 per cent 2020, while pharmacy same-store sales were up 7.7 per cent last year and 9.1 per cent the previous year.

Eric La Flèche, Metro Inc. president and CEO, says the chain delivered strong results in the first quarter of 2022, “driven by continued sales growth on top of record sales last year and good expense control. Our industry is facing higher than normal inflationary pressures and our teams are working hard to provide the best value possible to our customers. The rapid spread of the omicron variant since the end of the quarter has caused challenges in our operations and I want to thank all our front-line employees for their commitment in these trying times. Today we are unveiling our 2022-2026 Corporate Responsibility Plan which builds on the progress we achieved over the last decade and sets ambitious goals for the company in the context of global sustainable development.”

Sales in the first quarter of fiscal 2022 remained strong, reaching $4,316.6 million, up 0.9 per cent compared to $4,278.2 million in the first quarter of 2021, and up 7.1 per cent over two years. In addition to reporting results of food same-store sales, online food sales were flat versus last year (up about 170 per cent in 2021).

Metro says food basket inflation was approximately 3.5 per cent (2.0 per cent in the previous quarter). The increase in pharmacy same-store sales include a 7.per cent increase in prescription drugs due to an uptick in physician visits and an 8.9 per cent increase in front-store sales supported by strong Over-The-Counter growth, particularly cough and cold products and the lower sales last year because of the labour conflict.

Outlook

Despite noting that it’s difficult to predict how ongoing government pandemic measures will evolve and impact business, Metro says in the short term, it expects food sales will remain relatively stable because of restaurant closures and ongoing work-from-home advisories.

“On the pharmacy side, we expect sale to increase versus the prior year with the launch of COVID rapid test distribution in our network, coupled with less restrictive government measures as 2021 was unfavourably impacted by a six-week ban on the sale of non-essential goods in Quebec,” notes Metro, adding that “the industry continues to experience cost inflationary pressures, particularly in cost of goods, and labour shortages which have increased with the latest strain of COVID. Labour shortages are also affecting our suppliers and logistics providers which in turn impact our supply chain and it is difficult to predict how long this situation will last. Despite this challenging environment, our teams continue to focus on delivering quality products at competitive prices to our customers.”

According to the latest 2022 analyst by stock analyst simplywall.st, Metro Inc. earnings are forecast to grow 3.45 per cent per year

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