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North West Company sees 17 percent pump in Q4 profits

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The North West Company Inc. has reported a double-digit increase in profit for the final quarter of fiscal 2012.

The Winnipeg-based junior department store operator said net earnings for the three-month period that ended Jan. 31 of this year were up 17.3 per cent to $15.8 million, or 32 cents per share, from $13.5 million, or 27 cents per share, in the final quarter of 2011.

That was in spite of a 2.8 per cent decline in sales, which dipped to $386.6 million from $397.6 million.

"We were very successful in achieving productivity and shrink-reduction improvements in the fourth quarter," NWC president and CEO Edward Kennedy said in a statement. "These have been priorities for the last two years and they will carry forward into 2013."

Kennedy said sales were a disappointment in discretionary general merchandise categories, and led to higher markdowns in the quarter.

"In 2013, we will continue to focus on the growth potential in our food business and be more selective on the general merchandise opportunities we choose to pursue," he added.

NWC is a leading retailer of food and everyday products and services to rural communities and urban neighbourhoods in Canada, Alaska, the South Pacific and the Caribbean. Its 223 stores trade under the names Northern, NorthMart, Giant Tiger, AC Value Center and Cost-U-Less.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

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