A fall in fourth-quarter earnings and sales has weighed on the full-year results of Canadian retailer Metro Inc.

Metro Inc said costs linked to the integration of stores it bought in 2005 from A&P had weighed on profits during the fourth quarter.

Lost sales from the disposal of the company's interest in a local grocery wholesaler also affected the results.

Nevertheless, Metro Inc, Canada's third-largest supermarket chain, still managed to book a 6% rise in annual profits.

Fourth-quarter operating income fell 25% to C$95.2m (US$96.3m), although annual profits reached C$459.8m, a rise of 6.2%.

Fourth-quarter sales fell 9% to C$2.4bn, pushing down annual turnover, which dipped 2.7% to C$10.6bn.

Metro Inc said it had achieved C$90m in synergies from the A&P Canada acquisition, above its original forecast of C$60m.

"We are already preparing phase two of our integration plan involving the rationalisation of our banners and private labels, to be completed over the next three years, which will allow us to continue our growth in the Canadian grocery market," said company president and CEO Pierre Lessard.

Lessard is to leave the company in April when he will be replaced by Eric Richer La Flèche.