Loblaw Companies Ltd. reported a higher fourth-quarter profit and revenue compared with a year ago as the supermarket giant met the challenge of “outsized sales growth,” the company’s executive chairman Galen G. Weston said Thursday.
Amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the grocery and drugstore retailer said sales in its food retail business were positively impacted, though costs associated with the safety and security of customers and workers remained elevated in the quarter.
“Our purpose–helping Canadians live life well–has inspired ongoing commitments to colleague safety, lower prices, and strategic services that matter to customers,” Weston said in a statement.
“Looking ahead, we have financial momentum, our strategy has advanced, and our core business is well positioned.”
Loblaw said it earned net income available to common shareholders of $345 million or 98 cents per diluted share for the 13-week period ended Jan. 2, boosted in part by an extra week in the quarter.
The result compared with a profit of $254 million or 70 cents per diluted share for the 12-week period ended Dec. 28, 2019. Revenue totalled $13.29 billion, up from $11.59 billion.
Meanwhile, Loblaw’s e-commerce sales spiked 160% during the quarter as many provinces reinstated lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.
On a comparable 52 week basis, the company reported food retail same-store sales growth of 8.6% and drug retail same-store sales growth of 4.9%.
Loblaw includes grocery stores under the banners Loblaws, Zehrs, Your Independent Grocer, Real Atlantic Superstore and Provigo, as well as its discount division, which includes No Frills and Maxi.
The company also has a network of Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix drugstores.
On an adjusted basis, Loblaw said it earned $1.26 per diluted share for its most recent quarter, up from an adjusted profit of $1.09 per diluted share a year earlier.
Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of $1.25 per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.