Loblaw feels impact of special items, Q4 net earnings drop

BRAMPTON, Ont. - Loblaw Companies Ltd. (TSX:L) says that its fourth-quarter profit was down by more than one-third compared with the prior year, largely because of special items including the write-down of some assets that are set aside for sale.

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Canada's largest grocery and pharmacy retailer says net income for shareholders fell to $128 million, or 31 cents per share.

That's down from $247 million or 60 cents per share reported a year earlier, when the comparable quarter had an extra week. Excluding the extra week, the year-earlier profit would have been $195 million or 47 cents per share.

Loblaw says its stores performed well during the fourth quarter, with sales growth and stable margins.

Overall retail sales were $10.86 billion. That was down from a year earlier because of the extra reporting week in 2014, but up $241 million or 2.3 per cent from $10.6 billion on a standard 12-week basis.

Loblaw's profit was reduced by a number of unfavourable items, including a writedown of drug retail assets that are being held for sale as well as costs for switching some grocery stores to more cost-effective labour agreements.



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