Empire Co. to invest $70M in expanding Farm Boy network in fiscal 2020

Farm BOy
Editor's Note

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated where the Farm Boy grocery chain originated. The reference has been removed.

Farm Boy’s new parent company revealed a few details Thursday about its plans to expand the grocery chain’s network this coming fiscal year.

Reporting its quarterly and annual earnings Thursday morning, Empire Co. Ltd. recorded a profit of $122.1 million in its latest quarter, up from $71 million in the same quarter last year.

The company behind the Sobeys and Farm Boy grocery stores says it will increase its quarterly payment to shareholders by a penny to 12 cents per share. The improved dividend came as Empire reported its profit amounted to 45 cents per share for the 13 weeks ended May 4, compared with 26 cents per share a year earlier.

Empire Co. closed its $800-million acquisition of all 26 Farm Boy stores late last fall. It has since opened two more Farm Boy stores, announced plans to open new St. Catharines and Burlington locations and stated it will convert an existing Sobeys on Metcalfe Street in Ottawa to a Farm Boy.

According to Empire Co.’s financial filings Thursday, the company plans to invest some $600 million in its operations in the coming fiscal year, including $70 million towards expanding the Farm Boy network in Ontario.

Sales in what was the company's fourth quarter grew to $6.22 billion compared with $5.89 billion a year earlier. Same-store sales were up 3.2 per cent for the most recent quarter, compared with 0.5 per cent a year ago.

On an adjusted basis, Empire said it earned $126.5 million or 46 cents per share for the quarter, up from an adjusted profit of $93 million or 35 cents per share a year ago.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 42 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

– With reporting from Canadian Press