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US-based food and drug retailer Albertsons has reported its sales and other revenues came to $16.5bn for the second quarter (Q2) of this fiscal year (FY21), compared to $15.8bn during the same period of last year (FY20).

The increase was driven by the retailer’s identical sales and higher fuel sales, which grew by 1.5%.

During the three months to 12 September, Albertsons’ digital sales increased by 5% against last year and 248% on a two-year stacked basis.

The retailer’s gross profit margin dropped to 28.6% during Q2, compared to 29.0% in Q2 FY20.

Net income was $295.2m, or $0.52 for each Class A common share, while adjusted net income was $369.5m, or $0.64 to a common share.

Albertsons CEO Vivek Sankaran said: “We are pleased with our second-quarter results as we continue to execute our transformation strategy.

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“The favourable consumer backdrop together with our focus on in-store excellence, accelerating our digital and omnichannel capabilities, increasing productivity and strengthening our talent and culture, are driving increased identical sales and improved performance.

“Based on this strong performance, today we announced a 20% increase to our quarterly dividend and have raised our FY21 outlook.”

For FY21, Albertsons expects its identical sales to be between 2.5% and 3.5%, an increase from the 5% to 6% previously predicted.

Adjusted net income for each of the retailer’s Class A common shares is expected to be between $2.50 and $2.60, up from the earlier forecast of $2.20 to $2.30 a share.

As of 11 September, Albertsons operated 2,278 retail food and drug stores, consisting of 1,725 pharmacies, 401 associated fuel centres, 22 dedicated distribution centres and 20 manufacturing facilities.

Earlier this year, the retailer reported a 16.9% rise in identical sales for the 12 months to 27 February.

The company’s sales and other revenues were $69.7bn in the period, compared to $62.5bn a year earlier.

In June, Albertsons partnered with last-mile logistics platform DoorDash to expand its on-demand grocery delivery service in the US.