Metro says it plans to bring home grocery delivery to Ontario this spring. Currently, home delivery is available only in Québec, but Ontario will be next, said CEO Eric La Flèche during a Q1 2019 earnings call this week (see below).
Many analysts believe this kind of change is critical for established, ‘conventional’ brands like Metro, which are increasingly vulnerable to being left behind as the industry transforms through e-commerce, home delivery, cashierless stores and other new business models. Loblaw already has a home delivery service in partnership with Instacart, while Whole Foods, Costco and other competitors are honing their own high-tech strategies.
“We monitor competition all the time, everywhere,” La Flèche said. “We’re very aware of what’s being done out there but we’re very comfortable with our model. Sales are growing nicely, so I think customers are okay with it.”
La Flèche was speaking with analysts on an earnings call following Metro’s release of its Q1 fiscal 2019 results. Metro reported sales of $3.977 billion for the twelve-week period ended December 22, 2018, an increase of 27.8 per cent compared with $3.111 billion for the same period in the previous year.
Excluding $757.1 million in sales for Q1 2019 from the Jean Coutu Group, acquired in 2018, sales were up 3.5 per cent. Same-store food sales were up 3.2 per cent, and same-store pharmacy were up 1.5 per cent.
Profit for the quarter was $203.1 million, down 84 per cent from $1.299 billion for the same quarter last year, when the figures were boosted by the sale of the majority of Metro’s investment in Alimentation Couche-Tard to raise funding for the Coutu acquisition.
"We are very pleased with our first quarter results, which reflect strong execution of our business plans and the success so far of our combination with the Jean Coutu Group,” said president and CEO Eric La Flèche. “In a very competitive market environment, we are well positioned to meet our customers' high expectations and continue to create long-term value for our shareholders."
The full results can be accessed here.