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Remuneration of Metro executives | Premiums of 3.7 million and sales stimulated by inflation



The main Metro executives will share bonuses totaling 3.7 million in 2022, while the Quebec food chain says it has exceeded its financial objectives in a context where inflation, which is pushing up the grocery basket bill, has helped “boost sales” in its stores.

This data, as well as the grocer’s explanations, can be found in the solicitation circular recently sent to its shareholders in view of the annual meeting scheduled for January 24. The event will once again be held virtually.

Overall, Metro’s top five bosses were entitled to total compensation – which takes into account base salary, bonuses and other benefits – of 13.2 million, which constitutes an increase of approximately 4% compared to compared to 2021.

As for annual premiums, they jumped 12%.

“Significant food inflation has stimulated sales and accelerated a shift of consumers to discount brands,” explains the company, in its document where it states that it has established “high sales targets” for its food divisions.

Owner of the Jean Coutu Group pharmacy chain, Metro generated revenues of around $19 billion in 2022. This is an increase of 3.3% over one year. Its net profits climbed 2.9% to 850 million, while its adjusted profit, which excludes non-recurring items, reached 922 million, up 8%.

Unsurprisingly, the grocer’s president and CEO, Eric La Flèche, was the best paid this year. He saw his total pay amount to 5.4 million, up 7% compared to 2021. His annual bonus amounts to around 1.5 million (+ 14%). Mr. La Flèche is the only senior executive to get a bonus over 1 million, but his four main subordinates will all receive at least half a million.

An acceleration

According to Metro, the first half of the last financial year was held under the sign of stability. The picture has been different over the past six months.

“Operational conditions related to the pandemic were more comparable to the previous year and […] food inflation has accelerated worldwide due to many factors such as the war in Ukraine, rising commodity and energy prices,” the circular reads.

Due to soaring food prices, major Canadian grocery chains have been singled out. On the occasion of the presentation of the results of the fourth quarter, last November 16, Metro defended itself from taking advantage of the situation. The chain pointed out that its margins had remained relatively stable. Its gross margin nevertheless stood at 20.4%.

Metro and its competitors have also been in the spotlight since the fall. Last October, the Competition Bureau announced its intention to scrutinize the increase in food prices in addition to looking at competition between the main brands in the sector. However, experts consulted by The Press felt that the scope of this approach might be limited.

Representatives of major chains were also questioned by a House of Commons committee as part of a parliamentary inquiry called for by the New Democratic Party (NDP).

Despite record inflation, consumers are probably not at the end of their troubles. The price of the food basket is expected to jump 5 to 7% in 2023, according to the Canadian Food Prices Report released in early December and compiled by experts from the universities of Guelph, Dalhousie, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. For a family of four, the bill could climb over $1,000.

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  • 11%
    Average increase in food prices in grocery stores last November

    SOURCE: Statistics Canada

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