Empire Company Ltd., the parent corporation of grocery chain Sobeys, saw third quarter profits plunge 38 per cent, thanks partly to a massive cyberattack.
Empire announced Thursday that net earnings for the quarter ending Feb. 3 fell to $125.7 million, down from $203.4 million a year earlier. While the company attributed some of the drop due to the cyberattack, some of it also came because the year-ago quarter included one-time earnings from Empire’s Crombie Real Estate Investment Trust.
Empire also announced that it would be moving Grocery Gateway delivery service customers — which it obtained in the 2021 takeover of Longo’s — to its Voila delivery service.
The cyberattack last November shut down the company’s pharmacy services, and hampered other systems, including self checkout, loyalty points and gift card redemption.
After initially estimating the cost of the attack — which it referred to as a “cyber event” — at just over $25 million, Empire said the net cost will now be $32 million.
The hit to earnings in the current quarter was roughly $39 million, Empire said, but the company expects to get some of that back through insurance coverage.
In the wake of the attack, customers couldn’t fill prescriptions for four days, and other systems were down for several weeks.
Gross margins fell slightly, to 25.4 per cent, from 25.7 per cent a year earlier.
With files from The Canadian Press
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