The retail segment consists primarily of corporate and franchise-owned retail stores, which includes beauty products, apparel and other general merchandise, and provides the PC Optimum programme. This segment is comprised of several operating segments that are aggregated primarily due to similarities in the nature of products and services offered for sale in the retail operations and the customer base.
Operating income in the third quarter of fiscal 2018 was $703 million, a decrease of $465 million compared to the third quarter of fiscal 2017. The decrease in operating income included an improvement in underlying operating performance of $18 million and the unfavourable year-over-year net impact of adjusting items totaling $483 million.
Net earnings available to common shareholders of the company were $106 million, a decrease of $777 million, or 88.0 per cent, compared to the third quarter of fiscal 2017. Diluted net earnings per common share were $0.28, a decrease of $1.96, or 87.5 per cent, compared to the third quarter of fiscal 2017
Adjusted net earnings available to common shareholders of the company were $562 million, an increase of $13 million or 2.4 per cent, compared to the third quarter of fiscal 2017.
"We delivered strong financial results in the third quarter and we are pleased with the performance across our retail business," said Galen G Weston, chairman and chief executive officer, Loblaw Companies Limited. "Our strategy continues to build momentum as our data-driven insights and process and efficiency initiatives enable us to make additional investments in our future."
For fiscal 2018, Loblaw is focused on its strategic framework, delivering best in beauty, using data driven insights underpinned by process and efficiency excellence. This framework is supported by the company's financial plan of maintaining a stable trading environment that targets positive same-store sales and stable gross margin, creating efficiencies to deliver operating leverage, investing for the future and returning capital to shareholders.
The first half of the year was characterised by incremental cost headwinds and a very competitive retail market. In the second half, the company is experiencing increased cost pressures, including from the surtax imposed on certain US imports. Management continues to focus on overcoming these headwinds. (RR)
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