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Food expert says grocery habits changing fast

Food retail sales dropped by over $200 million in May
grocery shopping cart food

A food expert says the bloodbath is here when it comes to Canadian grocers.

Sylvain Charlebois posted a blog about the topic for the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.

He says top grocers such as Loblaw, Sobeys and Metro are seeing their world being turned upside down by consumers who are more than ever obsessed with convenience.

"In other words, grocery shopping habits are changing, and fast." said Charlebois, who is Dean Faculty of Management, Professor in Food Distribution and Policy, at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

He says when you look at the latest retail numbers from Statistics Canada, food retail sales dropped by over $200 million in May.

Sales have actually been down in four of the last five months, while sales from convenience stores and specialty stores have increased between six and 10 per cent.

"Lots is going on right now in the sector...a lot of players are going online. Lots of meal kits being delivered, that's eating up some of the market share out there. Ready to eat solutions being provided by all sorts of outlets. And finally food service...restaurants are doing very well. Sales are up four per cent almost every month...that's why retailing is really, really hurting right now." Charlebois told The Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS.

He believes we will soon see less people working in grocery stores, as more things become automated.

"Domino's Pizza is delivering pizza, allowing people not to talk to anyone at all. You have a driverless car, driving to you, to your door. This is the future, you'll see less and less human intervention, and that's the only way margins can go up." added Charlebois.

He adds losing three per cent of sales in a single month is just not sustainable.


Blair Adams

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