TORONTO — Although sales and earnings improved for Loblaw Cos. during the third quarter, “this is not yet a trend,” Allen Leighton, the retailer’s president and deputy chairman, warned on Thursday.
“We’re living in a world which is the most unpredictable it’s been for a period of time. We’re in unchartered waters,” Leighton said in a conference call, in which Loblaw predicted “difficult times” through early next year due to global economic pressures impacting the Canadian consumer. “Already there are signs that consumer confidence is falling off the log, and economic indicators are going in the wrong direction.”
Loblaw said net earnings in the third quarter improved by 32.5% to $125.9 million on sales of $7.7 billion (U.S.). Sales improved by 3.9%, and comps were up 3%, including a negative impact from the shift of the Thanksgiving holiday to the fourth quarter. The company credited the quarterly performance to progress in efforts to reduce costs and enhance its image with consumers.
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