Canadian retailer Metro Inc has seen half-year profits fall over 12% thanks in part to ongoing competition in the key market of Ontario.

Metro saw operating income slip 12.3% to C$192.6m (US$190.4m) during the 24 weeks to 15 March. Sales remained flat, reaching C$4.9bn, the company said.

Sales inched up 0.7% during the second quarter to C$2.4bn and Metro was keen to highlight that improvement amid the “competitive environment” seen in Ontario.

Underlying net earnings – stripping out a fall in Metro’s tax rate and costs incurred last year due to the acquisition of A&P Canada – fell 15.1% to C$116.4m.