Canadian grocery chain Sobeys has posted lower second-quarter earnings due to one-time pre-tax costs.

The company reported net earnings of C$43.2m (US$32.7m), or 66 cents a share, for the quarter to 1 November, compared with $46.6m, or 71 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding the one-off pre-tax costs of $10.1m, partly relating to the power failure in Ontario in August, the company said earnings would have reached $49.7m, or 75 cents a share, reported Reuters.

Sales increased 5% year-on-year to $2.74bn. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 72.3 cents a share on sales of $2.75bn.

“Although earnings were down 8.5% year over year at the end of the second quarter, net earnings for fiscal 2004 are expected to exceed net earnings for the last fiscal year ended 3 May,” the company was quoted by Reuters as saying. 

The company backed its sales growth forecast for fiscal 2004 of 6-8%.