FALLING PRICES

It's been a year of mixed blessings for many fresh food departments. Wholesale prices fell steeply in a couple of key categories, such as dairy products and eggs. That's good news for shoppers and good news for margins, but when a $10 billion category like milk faces a 10% decline in sales after an 8.4% drop the prior year, that's a lot of volatility, and a lot of dollars that weren't put through

It's been a year of mixed blessings for many fresh food departments. Wholesale prices fell steeply in a couple of key categories, such as dairy products and eggs. That's good news for shoppers and good news for margins, but when a $10 billion category like milk faces a 10% decline in sales after an 8.4% drop the prior year, that's a lot of volatility, and a lot of dollars that weren't put through supermarket registers. Eggs, a $3 billion category, saw a similar 7.6% drop during the latest

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