June 26 (Reuters) - Empire Co Ltd, the operator of Canadian grocery chain Sobeys Inc, reported a lower quarterly profit, and said it would close 50 underperforming stores.
Net earnings fell to C$800,000, or 1 Canadian cent per share, in the fourth quarter ended May 3, from C$105.9 million, or C$1.56 per share, a year earlier.
Total sales rose 40 percent to C$5.94 billion ($5.47 billion), including contribution from Canada Safeway stores.
Empire bought the Canadian arm of Safeway Inc last year, cementing its position as Canada's No. 2 grocer. ($1 = 1.0853 Canadian Dollars) (Reporting By Sneha Banerjee in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)