Earnings Loblaw Cos. Ltd. said yesterday food price inflation helped power the company to a 73 per cent profit increase in the first three months of 2009.

Canada’s largest supermarket operator said net earnings climbed to $109 million or 40 cents per share for the last quarter, up from a year-earlier profit of $63 million or 23 cents per share. Quarterly sales rose to $6.7 billion, up 2.9 per cent from $6.53 billion a year earlier.