Bonuses of 3.7 million await Metro’s senior management at the end of a year in which the Quebec grocery chain saw inflation – which began to stabilize at the end of the financial year – continue to boost its profits and its turnover.

The information as well as the grocer’s explanations appear in the solicitation circular sent to its shareholders and filed with regulatory authorities on Wednesday. Metro’s annual meeting will be held on January 30, virtually.

Between them, Metro’s top bosses saw their total compensation, which takes into account base salary, bonuses and other benefits, reach 15.5 million. The company explains this 27% increase compared to last year by the promotion of two senior executives during the financial year which ended September 30.

Marc Giroux, who became chief operating officer – food, notably saw his emoluments jump by 50%, to 3.1 million, following his promotion. He formerly held the position of head of the Quebec and e-commerce division. Head of the Jean Coutu Group since September 26, 2022, Jean-Michel Coutu saw his overall pay almost double following his promotion. He was previously senior vice president and network head of the drugstore chain.

President and CEO Eric La Flèche remains the highest earner at $6.1 million. The latter nevertheless obtained an annual bonus lower than that to which he would have been entitled. The manager himself requested a downward adjustment, says the Quebec channel.

Metro turns the page on a financial year in which the company posted revenues of 21 billion, up 9.7%, while its net profits reached 1.1 billion, up 19.9%. The grocer’s margins, however, did not follow the same trend. Its gross margin contracted slightly, to 19.7%, while the net margin showed an increase of 0.4 percentage points, to 4.9%.

“We are obviously very aware of the impact of rising food prices on consumers and the teams have worked tirelessly to offer the best value across all of our brands,” says Metro, in the explanations provided to regarding the remuneration of its senior executives.

Grocers find themselves in the spotlight in a context where a growing number of households are struggling to make ends meet. Last October, the leaders of the main brands – Metro, Loblaw, Walmart, Costco and Empire (IGA and Sobeys) – were notably summoned by the federal Minister of Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, who wanted to obtain from them ways to stabilize prices in supermarkets. The results seem mixed. Last November, Mr. La Flèche himself declared, in an interview with TVA, that the summit in Ottawa had no impact on prices.

“Since the meeting, things have not changed,” he said.

Going to the supermarket will still lead to additional expenses next year, according to forecasts from the Report on Food Prices in Canada, published on December 7. Across the country, food price increases could be as much as 4.5%.

Small consolation, in Quebec, the anticipated increase should be lower than the Canadian average. The increase is expected to range between 2.5% and 3.5%.