Sales for Metro Inc. grew 8.2 per cent to $4,670.9 million with food same-store sales increasing 7.5 per cent and pharmacy same-store sales climbing to 7.5 % in the company’s first quarter of fiscal 2023.
Eric La Flèche, president and CEO, says the solid results in the first quarter helped the company gain market share “in a very competitive environment. As inflationary pressures persist, our teams did an excellent job to offer the best value possible to customers in our stores, pharmacies and online and I thank them for their hard work. We will continue to execute on our business plans to deliver a strong value proposition to our customers, invest in our retail network and infrastructure, and support our communities.”
Sales in the first quarter of fiscal 2023 remained strong, reaching $4,670.9 million, up 8.2 per cent from the first quarter of 2022 mainly due to higher inflation this quarter. Food same-store sales were up 7.5 per cent versus the same quarter last year (down 1.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2022). Online food sales were up 40.0 per cent versus last year (flat in 2022). The company’s food basket inflation was 10.0 per cent, the same level as the previous quarter. Pharmacy same-store sales were up 7.7 per cent (7.7% in the first quarter of 2022), with a 6.5 per cent increase in prescription drugs and a 10.2 per cent increase in front-store sales, primarily driven by over-the-counter products, cosmetics and health and beauty.
In a press conference following the company's annual general meeting and release of its financial results, La Flèche said more price hikes are coming in 2023. He said that in 2022, he fielded thousands of requests from suppliers for price increases and as the blackout period for price increases ends in early February, prices will begin rising again.
Addressing claims of greed noted in media reports, La Flèche says that inflation in general and food inflation specifically is a phenomenon worldwide and thinks that "greedflation accusations or comments are unproductive, unconstructive and not true."
He said that Metro’s gross profit margin was 19.6 per cent in the quarter compared with 19.9 per cent for the same period in the prior year, saying it demonstrates the company is not passing on all cost increases to consumers.