Canada’s top grocers post above-average profits with little transparency, study says


Canada’s top three grocers all posted greater profits this yr in contrast with their common performances during the last 5 years, new analysis from Dalhousie University has discovered.

Critics have accused grocers of so-called greedflation, suggesting they’re profiteering at a time when meals costs are rising on the quickest charge in additional than 40 years, and researchers say a scarcity of transparency of their monetary outcomes is not serving to.

“These corporations are large and fairly diversified from a retail perspective, so we suggest dividing meals gross sales from different gross sales,” mentioned Sylvain Charlebois, a Dalhousie professor and co-author of the report by the college’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab.

Loblaw Companies Ltd. was notably notable, the report discovered, because it has outperformed not solely its five-year common efficiency, however did higher than any of these years individually.

WATCH | Competition Bureau launching study on grocery pricing:

Competition Bureau to probe grocery pricing

October 24 – Canada’s Competition Bureau says it’s launching a study on competitors within the grocery business. The company mentioned in a press launch Monday that it plans to analyze numerous points within the grocery business, “with the purpose of recommending measures that governments can take to assist enhance competitors within the sector.” We’ll speak with an skilled about what these measures ought to be.

The grocery chain’s gross revenue within the first half of 2022 beat its earlier finest outcomes by $180 million — equal to about an additional million {dollars} a day, the analysis discovered.

By comparability, Metro Inc.’s latest gross revenue was $11 million beneath its finest efficiency over the previous 5 years, whereas Sobeys Inc. guardian, Empire Co. Ltd., made $37 million much less within the first half of the yr in contrast with its finest outcomes, the report mentioned.

But the report authors mentioned the shortage of extra detailed monetary information makes it troublesome to clarify why all three grocery store corporations are exceeding their common performances this yr.

“We wished to see if grocers had been making the most of excessive inflationary occasions to cost an extra amount of cash for meals,” mentioned Samantha Taylor, a senior teacher of accounting at Dalhousie’s Rowe School of Business and co-author of the report.

“But it is inconclusive. We do not have that information.”

Unclear if gross sales progress comes from meals

Under worldwide monetary reporting requirements, publicly traded corporations can lump collectively working segments with related traits.

The retail section of Loblaws, for instance, contains gross sales from grocery shops, drugstores, together with its Shoppers Drug Mart chain, and different well being, magnificence and normal merchandise gross sales.

So it is unclear whether or not gross sales progress is because of meals or different objects, resembling child garments or make-up.

Charlebois mentioned the report’s findings underscore the necessity for extra transparency in Canada’s grocery sector. “Selling meals just isn’t the identical factor as promoting lipstick.”

It’s fairly potential that customers are spending extra money on merchandise which have a better gross-profit margin, like cosmetics and attire, Taylor mentioned.

“It’s additionally potential grocers have elevated their margins on meals. We simply do not know.”

Mainstreet NS10:42Dalhousie profs study ‘greedflation’ and rising prices on the grocery retailer

A report out of Dalhousie University makes an attempt to reply the query: is greedflation serving to drive costs greater on the grocery retailer? Authors Sylvain Charlebois and Samantha Taylor be part of host Jeff Douglas to speak about it.

The report comes as meals inflation in Canada continues to spiral greater. Grocery costs jumped 11.4 per cent in September in contrast with a yr earlier than — the most important improve since 1981, in line with Statistics Canada.

Surging meals costs have prompted the Competition Bureau of Canada to launch a study on competitors within the grocery business.

Grocers say margins have not modified

But the grocers defended their profits, saying their margins have not modified.

Loblaws vice-president Catherine Thomas mentioned retail is “the face of inflation, however we aren’t the trigger.”

“Inflation is a worldwide difficulty, not a uniquely Canadian one, and the value on our shelf represents many prices and plenty of corporations up the availability chain,” she mentioned. “This is another study that appears at meals costs with out wanting even one step additional up the chain, together with the key worth will increase from international producers.”

A lady carries groceries in Vancouver on Nov. 9, 2020. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Loblaws’ revenue margin on meals has remained flat since inflation set in, Thomas added.

Charlebois advised one of the best ways for Loblaws to defend its place can be to launch the complete information.

“On one facet, you may have folks looking for a scapegoat and pointing fingers at grocers,” he mentioned. “On the opposite facet, you may have grocers defending themselves however with out actually a lot transparency.”

Metro vice-president of public affairs and communications Marie-Claude Bacon mentioned the Montreal-based grocer’s gross revenue margins have remained steady for a few years.

“Despite deceptive claims by some, we work exhausting each day to supply worth to our clients and assist them within the present context of world inflation,” she mentioned.

Sobeys didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Let’s Go8:02The worth of meals goes up. Is it actually ‘greedflation’?

Sabrina chats with Moshe Lander about inflation on the groceries shops, following a unanimously adopted movement by the NDP. Lander is a lecturer within the Department of Economics at Concordia University.

Retail Council of Canada nationwide spokesperson Michelle Wasylyshen mentioned whereas grocers’ general income elevated through the pandemic as extra folks ate at residence, revenue margins have been comparatively constant.

“The grocery business is a comparatively low-margin enterprise,” she mentioned. “Typically, grocery profits equate to 3 or 4 per cent of revenues.”

The overwhelming driver of worth will increase on retailer cabinets is the unprecedented worth will increase that grocers themselves face from their distributors resembling meals producers, processors and wholesalers, Wasylyshen mentioned.

Canada additionally has decrease meals inflation than many different international locations, with food-price will increase hitting 13 per cent within the United States and 14.5 per cent within the United Kingdom, she mentioned.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here