Canadian grocery retailer Metro Inc has reported an increase in third-quarter net earnings despite reporting largely flat sales on the same period of last year.

For the 16 weeks to 2 July, Metro’s net earnings rose 4.1% to reach C$124.9m (US$125.7m).

EBITDA increased 0.1% to $248m, although the retailer said its operating profit margin fell to 6.9% against 7% in the same period of last year.

Metro, meanwhile, saw its sales rise 0.4% to $3.6bn. Same-store sales were up 0.5% over the period. Metro said that sales were impacted by “a higher penetration of promotional sales” as well as lower drug pricing following the expiry of important drug patents and new generic drug legislation in Quebec and Ontario.

President and CEO Eric La Flèche said: “The growth of our net earnings and sales in the third quarter demonstrates our teams’ excellent capability to execute in a highly competitive environment. We are confident that our customer-focused strategies supported by our effective merchandising, loyalty, investment, and cost control programs will allow us to continue our growth.”