Montreal-based retailer Metro has posted a 3.7% increase in profits to C$92.6m (US$88m) for the third quarter, as efficiency gains compensated for lacklustre sales growth. 

Revenue for the three months to 5 July increased by less than 1% to C$3.37bn. Sales at stores open at least a year increased by only 0.5%, down from a 2.1% increase seen in the comparable period of last year.

Sales were held back by price cuts introduced amid intensifying competition and the global economic downturn. Wal-Mart entered the Canadian market last year, increasing price competition in the region.

Metro boosted its profit margin on EBITDA to 6.1% of sales from 5.9% last year.

The company yesterday (7 August) unveiled plans to invest C$200m in remodelling and rebranding its Ontario stores.