Metro Inc, the Canadian retailer, today (25 January) posted a rise in underlying first-quarter results amid an improvement in same-store sales.

The company booked adjusted net earnings of C$92m (US$92.1m) for the three months to 18 December, up from 3.5% on the year.

Metro’s reported net earnings fell 6.2% and stood at $92m but the company was lapping the first quarter of last year, when income tax was lower and it incurred costs linked to the converting of some stores to different banners.

Revenue dipped 0.5% to C$2.63bn, although same-store sales were flat, which Metro said was “an improvement over the previous quarters”.

The retailer said its sales were hit by “increased competitive activity”, which drove down food prices. Metro said drug prices had also fallen as patents expired and due to changes to legislation in Ontario.

President and CEO Eric La Flèche pointed to the roll out of Metro’s loyalty scheme and said the retailer expects the benefits of that to continue.

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“We grew adjusted net earnings in the first quarter despite experiencing continued food deflation due mostly to increased competitive activity. The roll-out of our Metro & Moi loyalty program across Québec has met our objectives and we are confident that this program will allow us to differentiate ourselves in the years to come,” La Flèche said.

Metro’s shares were down 0.6% at C$43.61 at 11:54 ET today.