|Bid||54.58 x 0|
|Ask||54.61 x 0|
|Day's Range||54.06 - 54.78|
|52 Week Range||39.04 - 55.34|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.04|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||20.32|
|Earnings Date||Nov 19, 2019 - Nov 25, 2019|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||0.80 (1.45%)|
|1y Target Est||54.75|
Metro Inc. will fast-track the deployment of technology such as self-service checkouts and electronic shelf labels to its stores in an effort to lower labour costs, the grocer's chief executive said Wednesday.The Montreal-based company expects to have self-service checkouts in 100 stores by the end of its 2019 financial year, which ends Sept. 29. It will equip another 100 stores in the following year.Meanwhile, Metro plans to install electronic shelf labels, which can digitally display and change prices, in 32 stores this year and 67 more stores next year."We are accelerating because the financial returns are better," CEO Eric La Fleche said during a conference call with analysts after the company released its third-quarter financial results."The combination of factors that are motivating us to speed it up: because they're addressing business needs, customer needs and providing decent returns."Improvements in the technology are helping to drive its costs down, La Fleche said. Such technology allows for better productivity, so Metro can reduce some employee hours as well as use it to fill gaps in areas where it is difficult to find employees, he added.The move also appears to be well received by many customers who make small purchases and prefer to use the self-service checkout, he said.The retail industry has been shifting toward automation in recent years in response to rising labour costs and consumers who increasingly expect online shopping and home delivery.Metro's competitor Loblaw Companies Ltd. said at its annual general meeting that artificial intelligence and automation will change the nature of work done in its offices, distribution centres and stores.The grocer has been adding self-service checkouts and electronic shelf labels to its stores, and started implementing algorithms using consumer data to try and boost profits.However, the company recently admitted an overzealous attempt actually hampered sales in a recent quarter and the company is now correcting course.The country's major grocers are also investing in technology outside of their bricks-and-mortar operations. They've worked to boost their e-commerce offerings, prompted in part by online retail giant Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods and growing consumer demand for convenient options.Loblaw has expanded its click-and-collect model through which customers order online and pick-up in store, as well as home delivery. Empire Co. Ltd., which operates Sobeys, partnered with the British firm Ocado and is building an automated warehouse in the Greater Toronto Area and one in Montreal to fulfil online grocery orders.Metro, meanwhile, launched its online delivery service in Toronto earlier this year with orders picked by staff members at two stores, said La Fleche. The service is available to some 1.9 million households.The company also reported Wednesday a third-quarter profit of $222.4 million, up from $167.5 million a year ago, as sales also climbed higher. The profit amounted to 86 cents per diluted share for the 16-week period ended July 6, compared with a profit of 69 cents per diluted share in the same quarter last year.Sales totalled $5.23 billion, up from $4.64 billion, boosted by the addition of Jean Coutu Group.Metro "once again gave the market solid results," wrote Irene Nattel, an analyst with RBC Dominion Securities Inc., highlighting solid same-store-sales growth amid an intense competitive environment.Food same-store sales were up 3.1 per cent, while pharmacy same-store sales were up 3.4 per cent. The key retail metric for the food division was driven by modest growth in customer count, basket and tonnage, she wrote.On an adjusted basis, Metro said it earned 90 cents per share in its most recent quarter compared with an adjusted profit of 75 cents per share a year ago.Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of 92 cents per share for the quarter, according to the financial markets data firm Refinitiv. Companies in this story: (TSX:MRU) (TSX:L) (TSX:EMP.A)Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press
MONTRÉAL, Aug. 14, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - METRO INC. (TSX: MRU) today announced its results for the third quarter of fiscal 2019 ended July 6, 2019. 2019 THIRD QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS Sales of $5,229.3 million ...
MONTREAL , July 15, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - METRO Inc. will release its third quarter fiscal 2019 results on Wednesday, August 14 th , 2019. The release will be followed by a conference call beginning at 9:30 ...
Shoppers at Sobeys Inc. grocery stores will soon need to bring their own totes or lug their purchases home in paper bags as the chain moves to phase out plastic bags by February 2020.Canadians go through hundreds of millions of single-use plastic bags at grocery stores each year, and the chains — most of which charge a nominal fee for plastic bags —are facing pressure from increasingly eco-conscious consumers to do more to eliminate their plastic-centric packaging.Sobeys said it is making the move to phase out plastic bags as a response to calls from customers and employees to use less plastic. The retailer also committed to launch programs to reduce plastic in other areas of the stores."We really felt that the amount of avoidable plastic in grocery stores is shocking," said Vittoria Varalli, the company's vice-president of sustainability. The change will eliminate 225 million bags used annually at Sobeys 255 stores.The company, which is owned by Stellarton, N.S.-based Empire Co. Ltd, will phase out plastic bags and introduce paper bags at its other banners soon after. Sobeys also operates Safeway, Thrifty Foods, IGA, Foodland, Freshco and Farm Boy. It boasts more than 1,500 stores across all its chains."The ultimate goal," said Varalli, is to eliminate plastic bags from the produce aisle as well. It plans to introduce a line of reusable mesh alternatives made from recycled bottles in August.Food companies have been on a mission to reduce plastic from their operations recently as consumers push for more sustainable practices. Some are taking initiatives to change ahead of the federal government's announced ban on single-use plastics by 2021, which would force them to find non-plastic alternatives.Last year, restaurants responded to pressure to eliminate plastic straws after a video showing someone removing a straw stuck up a turtle's nose went viral.Starbucks, A&W and other chains made promises to remove the item from their eateries, and some have already done so.But the trend toward sustainability didn't stop at straws. Many fast-food giants started experimenting with other green packaging. In June, McDonald's Canada announced it would test wooden cutlery and other recycling-friendly containers at two restaurants."I think they're trying to respond to popular concern," said Vito Buonsante, plastics program manager at the advocacy organization Environmental Defence, of grocers' efforts to reduce plastic waste by targeting plastic bags.In coastal regions, plastic bags create a major environmental problem, he said, where they persist for a long time and harm wildlife.Despite the fact that Canadians use about 2.86 billion plastic bags a year, Buonsante sees them as "low-hanging fruit" that people easily can do without.Grocery stores are slowly starting to get on board with the push to eliminate single-use plastics.Metro Inc. announced earlier this year it would start allowing consumers to use reusable containers to store fresh products, such as those from the deli and pastry counters, at its Quebec stores.In May, the company committed to cut its use of single-use plastic bags in half by the end of its 2023 financial year. It also said it wants to reduce the amount of produce bags used by 10 per cent by the end of its 2020 financial year.Loblaw Companies Ltd., meanwhile, started charging five cents per plastic bag about a decade ago and reduced the number of plastic bags used in its stores by nearly 12 billion, wrote spokesperson Catherine Thomas in an email.It has donated $10 million to the World Wildlife Fund with some of the proceeds as of the end of 2018. Thomas declined to provide the total amount the company has made by charging for plastic bags.Meanwhile, customers seeking greener grocery pastures have given rise to niche no-waste markets across Canada."Change is kind of happening," said Buonsante, but — for the most part — these initiatives are limited in effectiveness.A five-cent bag fee is not a strong deterrent, he said, and companies should create incentives to help shoppers shift their habits.Governments around the world have started to crack down on single-use plastics to force companies into change.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in June that his government is starting the regulatory work to ban toxic single-use plastics because the garbage infiltrating the world's waterways is out of hand.Nothing is going to be banned overnight, with the process to implement a federal ban or limitations on a product under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act usually taking two to four years. The goal is to make decisions on everything on the list by 2021.Trudeau said Canada's plan will "closely mirror'' that of Europe. In March, the European Parliament agreed that by 2021 the European Union will ban almost a dozen single-use products including plastic plates, cutlery, cups, straws, plastic sticks in cotton swabs, balloon sticks and stir sticks, and Styrofoam cups and take-out food containers. Oxo-degradeable plastics including plastic grocery bags, which break down into tiny pieces with exposure to air but never fully disappear, are also to be banned. Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter. Companies in this story: (TSX:L) (TSX:EMP.A) (TSX:MRU)Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press