Metro inc. - President and CEO, Eric La Flèche
President and CEO, Eric La Flèche
Source: Canadian Business
  • Grocery and pharmacy supplier, Metro Inc has seen a C$125 million boost to its second quarter sales, due to increased buying during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Second quarter food sales were up 9.7 per cent and pharmacy sales were up 7.9 per cent, when compared to the same period in 2019
  • However, the company has noted that commercial pharmacy sales have begun trending down in recent weeks, due to new social distancing safety measures
  • Other related operational disruptions have caused the company to delay its ongoing integration with the recently acquired pharmacy group Jean Coutu
  • Metro Inc (MRU) is down 0.17 per cent, with shares trading for $59.34 at 9:37am EST.

Grocery and pharmacy supplier, Metro Inc (TSX:MRU) has seen a notable boost to sales, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact consumer habits.

In the last two weeks of the company’s second quarter sales spiked significantly. The sales increase, when calculated against last year’s figures, is estimated to be around C$125 million. Specifically, food sales were up 9.7 per cent and pharmacy sales were up 7.9 per cent.

Those same figures, when adjusted to ignore the impact of COVID-19 on sales, were up 8.1 per cent and 5.2 per cent, respectively.

These increases have bumped the company’s net earnings 45 per cent, to $176.2 million.

While sales are up, the company’s labour and maintenance costs have also rose steeply.

Interesting, new pandemic safety measures are beginning to impact the company’s commercial pharmacy sales. This is due to social distancing procedures limiting staff and customers in the stores.

As a result, the company noted that sales in that sector have been trending down in recent weeks.

Furthermore, the increased pressure on Metro’s supply chains and operational disruptions surrounding the pandemic, has caused planned activities to fall by the wayside.

Consequently, a planned overhaul of the company’s warehouse and distribution activities has been indefinitely delayed. This means the company ongoing integration with the recently acquired pharmacy group Jean Coutu has also been delayed.

Eric R. La Flèche, President and CEO of Metro, stated the pandemic’s affects are unprecedented and has solicited all the company’s available resources.

“As a leading provider of food and pharmacy products, our teams are fully dedicated to serving the everyday essential needs of our customers safely and responsibly.

“We do not know how long this crisis will last but we will continue to serve our customers as best as we can, making the health and safety of our teams and customers our top priority,” he said.

Metro Inc (MRU) is down 0.17 per cent, with shares trading for $59.34 at 9:37am EST.

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