Grocery store sales fall; food inflation up slightly


Supermarket and grocery store sales in Canada declined half a per cent in October versus September.

Other food and beverage retail sectors saw modest increases, Statistics Canada reported. Corner store sales rose 0.9%, while specialty food store sales rose 0.7% and beer, wine and liquor store sales grew 0.2%.

Measured year-to-year, grocery store sales were up 3.3% to $6.16 billion in October.

The top performing sector in food and beverage over the past 12 months remains the specialty food category. Sales were up 12% in October versus the same time last year to $423 million. Convenience stores were down 4.8% and beer, wine and liquor stores were up 3.4%.

Total retail sales–everything from clothing and food, to gas and car purchases, were up for the fifth consecutive month in October, Statistics Canada said.

But the September to October jump was slight: only 0.8%, thanks largely to a 7.4% leap in gasoline sales. Excluding sales from gas stations, retail sales were down 0.1% in October.

Overall retail sales grew 3.3% year-over-year to $36.64 billion.

Statistics Canada also released its inflation numbers for November. Food prices rose 1.5% in the 12 months to November, after a 2.2% jump in October.

The biggest gain in prices was at restaurants, up 2.5%. Food prices at stores rose 1%.

Among the largest price gains in the past year: sugar and confectionery products (up 7.4%), ham and bacon (up 7.2%), and coffee and tea (up 6%). Lettuce prices, meanwhile, were down 13.6% year-over year. A complete list is available here.

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