Is the US on a Big Diet? Grocery Sales Turn Negative

Bottom Line: BMO’s Food Retail Roundup provides in-depth analysis of IRI grocery industry data, including proprietary BMO custom-cut sales index analyses for KR, SFM, and WMT, as well as DG and DLTR following our initiations, detailed Food-at-Home CPI analysis and forecasts, along with tidbits of information across the food retail industry.

Key Points

National U.S. Grocery Sales Turn Negative for the First Time Since April 2017 According to IRI, U.S. grocery industry sales (ex-WMT) declined 1.1% y/y in “January” (four-week period ending 1/13/19) compared to +0.5% in the December period, turning negative for the first time since the Spring of 2017. While we already published that sales were weak in the 2H of December, the 1H of January remained similarly weak. Tough weather comparisons in early January due to LY’s historic bomb cyclone (NE & Mid-South impacted LY and weakest regions this year) likely didn’t help.

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