Loblaw Profit Climbs 22 Percent

MONTREAL - Canada's largest supermarket chain, Loblaw Cos. Ltd., on Thursday posted 22 percent increase in second-quarter profit on a 9.2 percent rise in sales. The retailer said it expects continuing strong growth for the rest of the year.

Loblaw's sales were just under $5.8 billion in the 12 weeks ended June 14, up from $5.31 billion in the year-ago quarter. Net earnings rose to $182 million, or 65 cents per diluted share, from $149 million, or 53 cents a share.

Company executives said on a conference call that there has been double-digit percentage growth in same-store sales of general merchandise, or non-grocery items.

They also predicted continuing expansion of profit margins, aiming to further reduce inventory shrinkage and hold down labor costs.
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