Metro Inc. raised its quarterly dividend as it reported its first-quarter profit and sales climbed compared with a year ago.
The company, which includes the Metro grocery store chain and Jean Coutu drugstores, says it will pay a quarterly dividend of 25 cents per share, up from 22.5 cents.
The increased payment to shareholders came as the company reported a profit of $191.2 million or 76 cents per diluted share for its first quarter, up from a profit of $170.2 million or 67 cents per diluted share in the same quarter a year earlier.
Sales for the 12-week period ended Dec. 19 totalled $4.28 billion, up from $4.03 billion a year earlier.
The company says food same-store sales were up 10%, while pharmacy same-store sales were up 1.3%.
On an adjusted basis, Metro says it earned 79 cents per share for the quarter, up from an adjusted profit of 71 cents per share a year ago.