US retailer Safeway Inc struck an upbeat note in its first-half results, released yesterday (18 July), despite a dip in sales and profits.

The company said it expects the recent deal to sell its stores in Canada, coupled with the IPO of its Blackhawk subsidiary, to enable it to increase shareholder returns.

“We are pleased with the significant milestones we achieved this quarter,” said Robert Edwards, president and CEO. “The substantial cash proceeds we expect to receive from the sale of our Canadian operations combined with the completion of the Blackhawk IPO will allow us to broadly enhance stakeholder value.”

However, the group saw sales in the first six months of the year dip to US$17.2bn, down from $17.33bn in the comparable period of last year. Excluding fuel, sales were up 1.5%.

Operating profit fell to $244.3m, from $250.7m, while net profit dipped to $127.3m, from $195.6m last year.

Nevertheless, Safeway expects full-year earnings to rise. The group said adjusted FY EPS is expected to total $1.02-$1.12, up from $0.99 in 2012. Including the benefit from the Blackhawk IPO and sale of the Canadian business, EPS is expected to rise to $2.25-$2.45.