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The North West Company reported sales growth for its third quarter, with consolidated sales increasing 6.4 per cent to $553 million and same store sales up 17.8 per cent, driven by market share gains and COVID-19 related factors.

"North West continues to provide essential products and services that people depend on during this unprecedented pandemic," says president and CEO Edward Kennedy. "Our associates are incredibly dedicated, community-minded and enterprising, as shown by their ability to take on the challenges and opportunities uniquely presented to us. I am especially proud of how we've risen to even higher levels of community responsibility while keeping our focus on fast-shifting customer needs. Throughout, health and safety remain our first priority, as seen in the low rate of COVID-19 transmission within our work and shopping spaces."

COVID-19 related factors that drove the same-store increase include a continuing shift towards in-community spending as well as income support provided by different jurisdictions within which the company operates. North West says these factors were largely offset by a decrease in sales due to the sale of 36 of its Giant Tiger stores, completed in the second quarter.

Gross profit increased 9.3 per cent and earnings from operations increased $15.9 million to 52.9 million compared to $37 million last year.

"Our effort is balanced between immediate reactions to the pandemic and work that will make us a more compelling shopping choice in the years ahead," adds Kennedy. "We were well along this path before last March and since then we have forged deeper connections with existing and new customers. We also see new growth areas that build on these relationships and our core abilities. 

"As we confront the current, most precarious stages of the pandemic, the stress on the people and communities we work with and live in is at its highest. Our resolve, experience and resources are even deeper than at the beginning and I am confident we will be a reliable, reassuring and safe presence through the next several months and until a vaccine is broadly distributed."

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