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Sobey's CEO: 'Our results are not where they need to be'

Empire Co. Ltd., parent company of Sobey's, announced its third quarter results and the company's new president and chief executive officer was none too pleased. The company recorded a 58.1 percent decrease in its adjusted net earnings — $34.6 million compared to $82.5 million in the third quarter last year.

“Our results are not where they need to be," said Michael Medline, president and CEO. "We have the employees and assets to put much better numbers up on the board. It is up to management to put in place a game plan to aggressively address our cost and customer issues to return Empire to sustainable and profitable growth and, although it will take time, we will deliver such results.”

Medline took over in mid-January with a strong track record of success. Prior to joining Empire, he served for more than 15 years in a variety of senior retail leadership roles at Canadian Tire Corp., most recently as that organization’s president and CEO.

Sobeys reported sales of $5.89 billion for the 13 weeks ended Feb. 4, 2017, a decrease of $137.4 million or 2.3 percent from approximately $6 billion reported in the same quarter last year. The company said the decrease in sales was primarily the result of the continued negative impact of merchandising and promotional strategies in Western Canada; price sensitivity by consumers and their continued shift to improved value; and retail food price deflation.

During the 13 weeks ended Feb. 4, 2017, Sobeys’ same-store sales excluding the impact of fuel sales decreased 3.7 percent from the same period last year.

For the third quarter of fiscal 2017, Sobeys’ gross profit was $1.4 billion, a decrease of $27 million or 1.9 percent. The decrease in gross profit was a result of the factors impacting sales, as well as significant investments made in pricing, particularly in the West business unit.