• Lily Chen
  • 04.03.2023

A total of five Montreal-based executives received $13.2 million in compensation in fiscal year 2022 (ended Sept. 24), according to regulatory documents released by the company. That's a 4% increase over the same period last year.

But the increase in their annual bonuses, the performance-related component of the company's payroll, was more generous as Metro's sales benefited from food inflation.

The five executives received a total of $3.7 million in annual bonuses, a 13.7% increase over last year.

President and CEO Eric La Flèche received a total bonus of $5.4 million, up 6.8%. His annual bonus rose 15% to $1.5 million.

In a statement to shareholders, Metro explains that the company's board of directors set "high sales targets" for determining bonuses. The company explains that these targets were exceeded in the second half of the year "as significant food inflation boosted sales and accelerated consumer switching to discount stores, which had a positive impact on our discount banners."

The company, which includes Metro, Jean Coutu and Super C, had revenues of $18.9 billion in 2022, up 3.3%. Net income rose 2.9% to $849.5 million.

Food inflation in Canada was 10.3% at the end of Metro's fiscal year in September, according to Statistics Canada.

Households probably haven't yet reached the end of their grocery-store agony, according to the Desjardins Group of economists' forecasts. Inflation in the grocery segment will average 5.6% in 2023. From 10.3% last November, the rate should fall to 3.2% in December 2023.

At a time when large Canadian grocery stores are being criticized for skyrocketing food prices, Metrose is protecting its bottom line while its margins remain relatively stable.

Despite an 8.3% increase in revenue to $4.4 billion in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022 (ended Sept. 24), gross margins remained stable. It reached 20.4%, the same level as last year. By comparison, in 2019, before the pandemic, the gross margin was 20.2%.

When the latest quarterly reports were released in November, executives mentioned that they were dealing with inflationary pressures, especially on transportation and labour.

Canada's big grocery companies are the subject of an Antitrust Committee probe announced in late October. The move comes amid rising inflation for food products, despite a decline in overall inflation.

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