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Grocer CEOs reject blame for food inflation

Eric La Fleche, CEO of Metro, said the food margin at that company has dropped and is offset by higher pharmacy margins.

OTTAWA — Grocery executives summoned to the standing committee on agriculture last night defended their profits, saying margins are thin.

“We are not profiting from inflation,” said Michael Medline, chief executive officer of Empire Foods, which operates Sobeys, Freshco and other chains. “It is simply not true.”

Loblaw CEO Galen Weston insisted the profit at that company is due mainly to non-food items and its Shoppers Drug Mart business.

“Even if the industry had zero profits, a $25 grocery bill would still cost $24,” he repeated under questioning from MPs.

And Eric La Fleche, CEO of Metro, said the food margin at that company has actually dropped and is offset by higher pharmacy margins.

“Focusing on grocers will not solve the problem of food inflation because we are not causing it,” he said.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh attended the meeting, along with a stack of paper he said contained questions from families about food prices. He repeatedly asked Weston how much profit is too much.

Source : Sask Today

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