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Grocery sales up slightly in November


Grocery store sales in Canada rose 0.7% in November from the previous month, slightly less than the 1.3% hike in retail sales overall, Statistics Canada reported Monday.

The good news is that grocery sales advanced 3.8% in November compared to the same month last year. Sales at grocery stores and supermarkets totalled $6.18 billion. And overall food and beverage sales rose for the first time after two months of declines.

Grocery experienced slower growth than two of the four food and beverage retail categories tracked by Statistics Canada.

Convenience stores, where growth has been non-existent lately, had the best results: a 1.4% gain. Still, year-to-year corner store sales are down 4.8%.

Beer, wine and liquor stores saw growth of 1.1% on the month and 6.2% year-to-year in November.

Specialty food stores, which have had double-digit growth of 11.4% on the year, saw almost no growth (0.1%) from October to November.

Overall retail sales advanced for the sixth consecutive month, StatsCan reported. New car sales, a key sign of a growing economy and consumer confidence rose 3.6%–the seventh straight monthly gain.

Also this week, StatsCan released its data on food inflation for the month of December. Food prices were up 1.7% compared to the same time last year after a 1.5% increase in November. Consumers paid more for meat, sugar and confectionery items. Prices for food purchased at restaurants also rose 2.4%

Overall consumer prices rose 2.4% in December versus a year ago, up from 2% in November. The hike was mainly due to higher gas prices, which rose 13% in December. Stripping out gasoline, inflation was 1.8% in the last month of 2010.

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