Loblaw Companies Ltd sharpens pencil, posts profit jump as grocery price war heats up

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Loblaw is reporting double-digit increases to its profit and adjusted earnings for the first quarter.

TORONTO — Consumers are getting fed up with rising food costs, and that is only adding fuel to the brewing retail grocery price battle.

At a time when cauliflower prices spiked to $8 just before Christmas, Loblaw Cos Ltd. “began to notice consumer resistance” to soaring food prices in the fourth quarter, president Galen Weston told analysts on a first-quarter conference call Wednesday.

“We will have the sharpest possible pencil on the promo programs,” Weston said, as retailers across the country step up their promotions.

Retail food prices have been a hot topic of late, in particular those of fresh fruit and vegetables: 81 per cent of the produce consumed in Canada is imported, and those prices ballooned last year due to the low dollar.

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