STELLARTON – Empire Co. Ltd. (TSX:EMP.A) says it’s closing about 50 underperforming Sobeys to improve its net earnings.
Nova Scotia-based Empire, which owns Sobeys, says about 60 per cent of the affected stores are in Western Canada.
Empire also says it’s increasing its shareholder dividend to 27 cents, up 3.8 per cent, the 19th consecutive year of increase.
Its fourth-quarter adjusted net earnings from continuing operations of $131.3 million, or $1.42 per diluted share, compared with $95.7 million, or $1.40 per diluted share, in the same quarter of last year.
Sales were $5.94 billion, up $1.68 billion year-over-year, excluding the impact of the recent Canada Safeway acquisition.
Empire will take a restructuring charge related to the store closures of $169.8 million. Excluding such items, Empire had net earnings of $1.5 million, or two cents per diluted share, compared with $102.5 million, or $1.51 per diluted share, in the same quarter last year.
Sobeys closing Amherst Foodland
AMHERST – Dozens of underperforming grocery stores across Canada are being closed by parent-company Sobeys and here in Nova Scotia the only closure will be in Amherst.
Sobeys Atlantic Manager of Communications Shauna Selig confirmed Thursday the twenty-six employees at the downtown Amherst Foodland were notified of the decision Wednesday evening that the store will be closing permanently on July 5, at 6 p.m.
“We reviewed the whole network of stores on a market-by-market basis and determined the Amherst location was underperforming,” Seliq said.
The Amherst closure will be the only location impact in the province, but four Foodland storefronts and one Sobeys in New Brunswick will also be closed for underperforming, Selig said. Those locations include Perth Andover, Tracadie and St. Stephen.
Sobeys parent company, Empire, released a press release Thursday confirming 50 underperforming stores across Canada will be closed to improve its net earnings, and more than half of those will take place in Western Canada.
The decision to cut the stores comes after the $5.8-billion acquisition of rival Safeway Canada.