MONTREAL -- Canadian supermarket operator Metro here last week said it would expand its new Metro Plus supermarket concept by opening up to 50 of the larger-format stores in the next few years.
the concept are performing well, and the company hopes to add 20 to 25 of the stores in fiscal 2004. The stores feature expanded fresh and prepared-foods departments and larger sections for seasonal general merchandise.
The newest prototype measures 45,000 square feet, vs. 21,000 square feet for the average Metro store.
Metro plans to spend C$140 million (about $107 million U.S.) on capital expenditures in fiscal 2004.
Metro said same-store sales increased 1.2% in the fourth quarter, which represented a slowdown from the gains of recent quarters. Metro attributed the relatively sluggish performance to produce-price deflation in Quebec and to the addition of new stores -- both its own and those of others -- in the province.
Sales increased 8.2% for the year, to $4.27 billion (U.S.), and net income grew 15.7%, to $127.6 million, compared with year-ago results. Same-store sales for the year were up 1.9%.
For the fourth quarter, sales increased 6.8%, to about $1 billion, while net income grew 15%, to $31.7 million, vs. results from the prior quarter.