Retailer Metro Inc has announced today that its earnings for the third quarter ended 2 July 2005 grew to $56.9m (US$46.9m) compared with $50.4m for the same quarter of the previous year.

The company’s sales increased 1.9% in the third quarter ended July 2, 2005 and 3.1% over the first 40 weeks to $1,914.3m and $4,737m respectively.

Labour conflicts in corporate stores, closings of stores, losses of institutional customers in the food services divisions and a decrease in sales of tobacco negatively impacted our third quarter and our year-to-date sales. These decreases were in part offset by sales linked to the purchase of 15 affiliated Metro supermarkets realized during the third quarter of the last fiscal year. Sales growth, excluding these events, would have been 4.4% for the third quarter and 5.6% for the 40-week period.

Despite continuing strong competition, merchandising strategies and retail investment program enabled Metro to sustain our sales growth in food with third quarter and 40-week increases of 1.6% and 2.7% respectively. Without the labour conflicts and the purchase of 15 affiliated Metro supermarkets, along with losses of customers, closings of stores and the decrease in sales of tobacco products, these increases would have been 4.3% and 5.3% respectively. Same-store sales increased 3.7% for the third quarter and 3.4% for the 40-week period.