Canadian grocery retailer Sobeys has announced rises in sales and earnings in the third quarter, ended 29 January 2005.

Sales for the third quarter were CA$2.92bn (US$2.42bn) compared to $2.74bn for the same quarter last year. Net earnings rose to $44.9m, compared to $44.0bn last year.

 “Improvements in merchandising and pricing and our ongoing investment in store network renewal continue to drive strong sales growth across the company,” said Bill McEwan, president and CEO. “We continue to be pleased with the execution of our store productivity initiatives and we clearly recognize the opportunity and need to further reduce our overall cost structure.”

During the third quarter, 11 new corporate and franchised stores were opened and another five stores were expanded. At January 29, 2005, Sobeys had 24.4 million square feet of retail space in operation, including all new and acquired stores, a 5.7% increase over the previous year.