Empire Co., the owner of Canadian retailer Sobeys, said today (10 September) that the grocer saw profits rise almost 8% in its fiscal first quarter.

Sobeys posted a 7.8% increase in net earnings to C$74.7m (US$72.1m) for the three months to 31 July.

Sales were up 1.8% to $3.98bn. It attributed sales growth to the increased retail selling square footage from new stores and enlargements, coupled with continued implementation of sales and merchandising initiatives, improved store level execution, and products and services innovation. However, it said sales growth associated with these initiatives was partially offset by food price deflation.

Over the quarter, Sobeys’ same-store sales increased 0.3%.

Operating income increased 3.7% to reach $127.5m, while operating income margin grew to 3.21% against 3.15% in the same quarter of the previous year.

To read the full earnings release click here.