Canadian Tire reports strong fourth quarter

Canadian home improvement and automotive retailer Canadian Tire posted strong fourth-quarter earnings of $125.1 million Canadian dollars (US$125 million), up 15 percent from C$108.3 million in the same period last year.

Sales were C$2.51 billion, up 3.3 percent from C$2.43 billion in the previous year.

For the full year, the company had earnings of C$417.6 million, up 17.8 percent from C$354.6 million in 2006. Sales for the year were C$8.62 billion, up 4.23 percent compared with C$8.27 billion last year.

Same-store sales, however, fell 1.8 percent for the fourth quarter and fell 0.5 percent for the full year.

Canadian Tire implemented several growth initiatives in 2007, including expanding and renovating numerous stores and testing three new concept stores. The company also relaunched a store-branded MasterCard and currently is testing a new retail banking initiative.

Also in 2007, the retailer opened five new stores including one with an expanded warehouse, known as a hub store. The company acquired three new stores, one of which is also a hub store, and converted nine stores under the PartSource banner during the year.

The retailer forecasts a “soft economic environment, especially in central Canada,” in 2008.

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