Canadian conglomerate George Weston recorded a rise in fourth-quarter earnings driven by improved operating results in its Loblaw division and lower losses from foreign currency translation.

For the fourth quarter ended 31 December, net earnings were up 23.2% to C$101m (US$103.7m), while net sales fell 1.6% to C$7.4bn.

During the fourth quarter, sales were up 9.7% in its Weston Foods division, while operating income fell to $55m against $58m in the same period of 2009, on the back of a reduced operating margin of 14.2%.

Sales in its Loblaw division were down 2.1% for the fourth quarter to reach $7.1bn, while same-store sales were down 1.6%. Operating income increased 4.4% to $287m.

For the full-year, sales rose 0.6% to $32bn, while operating income was up 47% to reach $1.4bn. The company said that consolidated operating margin was 4.6% against 3.2% in 2009.