Canadian retailer Sobeys has seen first-quarter like-for-like sales slide as a result of low food inflation and more intense competition.

The supermarket chain’s like-for-like sales dropped 0.1% year-on-year in the quarter to 3 August, Sobeys owner Empire Co. said in a financial update yesterday (12 September).

However, investments in the Sobeys retail network, alongside sales and merchandising initiatives, meant that total sales gained 2.2% in the period, climbing from C$4.5bn to $4.59bn.

Moreover, Empire president and CEO Paul Sobey said that the company was “well positioned” to “grow earnings and build shareholder value” thanks to the group’s recent acquisition of Safeway Inc’s Canadian business and sales of Empire Theatres.

Empire said adjusted first-quarter EBITDA fell to $232.4m, down from $253.2m in the comparable period of last year. Adjusted net earnings totalled $89.7m, down from $102.6m last year.

Click here to view the full release from Empire.