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Loblaw Second-Quarter Profit Rises on Clothing Sales

Loblaw Cos., Canada’s largest food retailer, reported second-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates on higher grocery and clothing sales.

Net income rose 14 percent to C$178 million ($173 million), or 63 cents a share, from C$156 million, or 55 cents, a year earlier, the Brampton, Ontario-based company said today in a statement. Loblaw was expected to earn 60 cents a share, based on analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Loblaw, which agreed this month to buy Shoppers Drug Mart Corp., Canada’s biggest pharmacy chain, said it expects “mid-single” digit operating income growth for 2013.

Sales rose 2 percent to C$7.52 billion, below analyst estimates of C$7.58 billion. Loblaw has 12 buys and four holds, according to Bloomberg data.

Loblaw rose 1.9 percent to C$48.87 at 12:03 pm in Toronto. The stock has risen almost 17 percent this year.

President Vicente Trius told analysts on a conference call that the Canadian grocery environment is growing increasingly competitive due to the expansion of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. across the country. He said the grocer plans to open six new locations in Quebec by the end of 2014 and expand its “inspire” store format used in the former Maple Leaf Gardens arena in Toronto.

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