Canadian grocer Metro interested in Target stores

(Reuters) - Metro Inc said it was interested in some of the stores being sold by Target Corp , becoming the second Canadian retailer to look at the stores the U.S. retailer leaves behind after its exit from Canada. Target exited Canada after a two-year struggle related to logistics and resources that left its stores poorly stocked. "There are a few of those stores that could be of interest to us down the road if they become available," Chief Executive Eric La Fleche said on a conference call on Wednesday. Target, which closed the last of its 133 retail stores on April 12, had said the real estate sales process was expected to be completed by June. Hudson's Bay Co said in February that a joint venture by the company could consider some of the properties vacated by Target Canada. Metro, which converted some of its Metro stores into Food Basics discount grocery outlets to attract customers, bought a majority stake in bakery chain Première Moisson in June to expand its product offerings. Metro, which has faced stiff competition from larger rivals like Wal-Mart Stores , reported 4.5 percent rise in same-store sales for the second quarter ended March 14. That helped boost the Montreal-based company's quarterly profit 15 percent to C$111.6 million ($91.2 million), or 43 Canadian cents per share. The company, which also benefited from a 4 percent inflation in its food business, said revenue rose 6 percent to C$2.71 billion. Metro's shares, which had risen nearly 14 percent this year through Tuesday, were down 1.7 percent at C$34.78 in afternoon trading on Wednesday. ($1 = 1.2237 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Anet Josline Pinto in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Don Sebastian)

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