MONTREAL — Price inflation has returned to Canada, but much of its effects are being swallowed up in promotional battles, officials of Metro Inc. here said Wednesday.
The retailer reported sales of $3.6 billion (U.S.), an increase of 0.4%, for the fiscal third quarter, which ended July 2. Same-store sales increased by 0.5%. Net earnings of $127 million for the quarter improved by 4.1%, and EBITDA was essentially flat at $252 million.
Eric LaFleche, chief executive officer of Metro, in a conference call discussing financial results Wednesday said price inflation has returned to Canada after nearly two years of deflation, but promotional pricing — in part sparked by a rollout of Wal-Mart Supercenters in Quebec — has masked the effect.
LaFleche said the impact of Wal-Mart has been "modest" so far, saying Metro's discount Super C and Food basics banners are priced right against Wal-Mart.
"Promotional activity is aggressive and consumer remained very cautious," LaFleche said.