Metro Inc has announced a dividend increase of 20%

Metro Inc has announced a dividend increase of 20%

Metro Inc has reported a fall in quarterly profits amid flat sales at the Canadian grocer.

Net earnings for the first quarter to 21 December were C$99.2m (US$88.8m), down 15.4% from net earnings of C$117.3m for the same quarter of 2013.

EBIDTA for the first quarter of 2014 was 7.3% lower than last year at $171.1m. Following the adjustment for the non-recurring expense of consolidation of its Quebec produce and dairy distribution operation to the Laval distribution centre and the decision to close another facility in March. 

Gross margin decreased from 19% in 2013 to 18.8% in 2014 as part of Metro's strategy to improve sales.

Sales for the first quarter of 2014 were flat at an increase of 0.1% to C$2.7bn. Same-store sales fell 0.5%.

The company announced a dividend increase of 20% of the previous year's net earnings to a level between 20% and 30%, with a target of 25%.