Supermarket company Loblaw has reported rises in sales for the second half and first quarter ended 18 June 2005, but net earnings for the half were down.

For the second quarter, income was C$6.436bn (US$5.23bn), compared with $6.069bn in the same period last year. Net earnings were $211m, compared with $197m a year ago.

For the half, sales were $12.560bn, compared with $11.746bn a year ago. Net earnings were $353m, compared with $373 the year before.

Among the reasons given for the rise in sales in the second quarter were food price inflation, strong sales growth in general merchandise of approximately two times that of food, and an increase of 3.2 million square feet of net retail square footage, during the latest four quarters, related to the opening of 85 new  corporate and franchised stores and the closure of 70 stores,  inclusive of stores which have undergone conversions and major expansions. During the second quarter of 2005, 16 new corporate and  franchised stores were opened and 13 stores were closed resulting in net increase of 0.6 million square feet or 1.4%.

The fall in income during the half was due to restructuring and other charges of $63 million of which $54m was related to the supply chain network and $9m related to an office move and reorganization of the operation support functions.