Retail food sales are still ahead of last year, but the growth rate is slowing, possibly due to consumers running out of stimulus money.
Major grocers like Walmart and Stop & Shop told the Wall Street Journal that their customers are spending less and becoming more price-conscious. Sales of grocery basics are showing a flattened growth curve. Frozen dinners were up 9% for the three weeks ending Aug. 9, as opposed to 17% for the previous two weeks; for breakfast cereal, the respective numbers were 2% and 6%.
The situation has led some grocers to bring back discounts, which they had put on hold during the surge in demand in the early stages of the pandemic. Kellogg and Kraft Heinz told the Journal they’re planning to initiate discounts also.
The situation comes as consumers are dealing with the end of unemployment check enhancement. The federal supplement of $600 a week expired last month, and Congress has been unable to agree on a replacement. An executive order from President Trump to add $400 a week has been implemented in only three states, due to states being required to furnish one-quarter of that amount.