Sobeys owner Empire reports 84 pct jump in profit

Reuters

Dec 12 (Reuters) - Empire Co Ltd, owner of Canada's No. 2 grocer, reported an 84 percent jump in second-quarter earnings as cost controls helped to offset weaker margins.

Sales at the company's Sobeys grocery chain rose 2 percent to C$4.42 billion ($4.17 billion) in the three months to Nov. 2.

Total sales also increased by about 2 percent, to C$4.43 billion.

Sobeys, like other Canadian retailers, is facing increasing competition from Wal-Mart and Target, which are expanding their presence in Canada.

Empire's net earnings rose to C$169.2 million, or C$2.48 per share, from C$91.9 million, or C$1.35 per share, a year earlier.

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