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Metro Slides as Store Sales Fall Most in Decade

Aug. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Metro Inc., Canada’s third largest grocery chain, fell the most in more than three years after reporting the worst same-store sales drop in a decade in its third quarter earnings.

Metro fell 3.7 percent at C$69.30 at the close in Toronto, the biggest one-day decline since May 20, 2010. Shares in the Montreal-based company have risen risen 9.4 percent this year.

Metro’s 0.9 percent same-store sales drop was the most in 10 years, according to Bloomberg Industries. The food retailer posted adjusted per-share profit of C$1.55 ($1.50), beating the C$1.54 average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue fell 0.7 percent to C$3.57 billion, below analysts’ estimates of C$3.64 billion.

Metro said it will provide pharmacies to the majority of Quebec’s 25 Target locations, scheduled to open starting in fall. The partnership will open 18 new pharmacies under its Brunet banner in Target locations, with 12 of those locations in the Greater Montreal area, by the end of summer 2014, Eric R. La Fleche, Metro’s chief executive officer said today in a statement.

“The agreement with Target provides an excellent growth opportunity for Metro’s pharmaceutical division, particularly the Brunet banner, as it enables us to significantly increase our presence, our purchasing power and our sales potential in Quebec,” La Fleche said.

Metro also said it expects to take a C$40 million charge in the next quarter to reorganize about 15 Ontario stores.

“We are convinced that these investments in our network, combined with our merchandising programs will allow us to continue to grow despite increased competition,” La Fleche said in the company’s earnings statement today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lauren S. Murphy in Toronto at lmurphy48@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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