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People walk by a Loblaw Companies Limited grocery store with a Joe Fresh clothing store inside, on the day of the annual general meeting of shareholders in Toronto, May 2, 2013.

© Mark Blinch / Reuters

Loblaw Companies Ltd. says it earned $166-million in its latest quarter, up nearly 17 per cent from a year ago.

The retailer, which includes the Loblaw and Shoppers Drug Mart banners, says the profit amounted to 40 cents per share for the quarter ended Oct. 10.

That was up from a profit attributable to common shareholders of $142-million or 34 cents per share a year ago.

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Revenue for the 16-week period totalled $13.95-billion, up from $13.60-billion.

On an adjusted basis, the company says it earned $408-million or 99 cents per share in what was its third quarter.

That was up from $371-million or 90 cents per share a year ago.

Same-store sales growth for the company's food business was 3.1 per cent, excluding its gas bar and the negative impact of a change in distribution model by a tobacco supplier.

Meanwhile, the company's drug retail same-store sales growth, which includes Shoppers Drug Mart, was 4.9 per cent. Same-store pharmacy sales increased 3.5 per cent, while front store sales increased 6.2 per cent.

"While the grocery industry remained intensely competitive, and the regulatory environment in healthcare challenging, we maintained a stable trading platform, achieved incremental efficiencies and delivered planned synergies," Loblaw president and executive chairman Galen Weston said.

"Having reached our deleveraging target during the quarter, we are now in a position to accelerate our focus on returning capital to shareholders."

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