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Empire Co.’s Profit Rises Nearly 40% On Higher Grocery Prices

Empire Co. (EMP.A) has reported that its quarterly profit rose 39% from a year earlier to $261 million due in large part to higher prices charged at its Sobeys and Safeway grocery stores.

The company said that its latest earnings were also given a boost by the sale earlier this year of some retail gas stations in Western Canada to Shell (SHEL).

Empire said that its profit for the quarter ended August 5 equaled $1.03 per share, which was well ahead of the average analyst estimate of $0.75 a share, according to Refinitiv data.

Overall sales at its grocery stores in the fiscal first quarter totalled $8.08 billion, up less than 2% from $7.94 billion a year earlier.

Same-store sales increased 3% in the period, while same-store sales, excluding fuel, rose 4%.

Empire’s stock has declined 7% over the past 12 months and currently trades at $35.28 per share.