Canadian Tire says better performance across Canada overshadows Alberta

TORONTO – A slowdown in Alberta’s energy sector has added pressure to sales at Canadian Tire Corp., but the head of the company says the rest of the country is more than compensating for the weakness.

President and CEO Michael Medline told analysts on Thursday that strength in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia is overshadowing the impact from trouble in Canada’s oilsands.

“Alberta is going to be weak for a while,” he said in a conference call after the retailer posted its latest financial results.

“What we’re seeing is great strength in other places.”

Medline set aside two of his biggest concerns — the weaker loonie and trouble in the oil industry — to highlight a number of positive factors heading into the busy holiday shopping season.

He pointed to “extraordinary results out of Ontario that I haven’t seen — and I don’t remember ever seeing.”

“Quebec, which had been lagging, is doing very well … and B.C. is booming,” he added.

The company doesn’t disclose its financial results by region.

Canadian Tire (TSX:CTC) reported that third-quarter profits rose 20.5 per cent on stronger sales overall.

The retailer, which sells a wide array of automotive, hardware and sports products, reported net income of $199.7 million from $172.2 million a year ago.

On a per share basis, the results were equivalent to $2.62 versus $2.17 in the comparable period.

The company’s total revenue increased 1.9 per cent to $3.13 billion from $3.07 billion.

Within its retail division, sales grew two per cent, though they were hindered by the negative effects lower oil prices had on gasoline sales.

In August, Medline singled out Fort McMurray, Alta., Canada’s oil hub, as a region where sales would be disproportionately affected as the oil industry continued to cut jobs.

A large portion of that impact has landed on Mark’s, its workwear and boots stores, which saw sales and margin challenges.

The Mark’s division, which is the smallest segment of Canadian Tire, saw same-store sales — outlets open for at least a year — drop 0.2 per cent in the period.

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