Supermarket margins back up in 2011

A chart showing supermaket margins in years 2001 and 2011.

Supermarket margins-revenues minus wholesale costs-fell 2.4 percent in 2010 from 2009 levels as supermarkets dealt with slow economic growth coupled with rising costs in the 2nd half of the year. Margins continued to fall in the early months of 2011 but then turned around by mid-2011. Margins are now up 5.1 percent from 2010 levels as supermarkets attempt to return margin trends to pre-recession levels. The extent to which input costs such as commodities and fuel are passed along to consumers will have a significant impact on retail price inflation for 2012. This chart is an updated version of a chart that appeared in the December 2011 issue of Amber Waves magazine. More information on ERS's food price forecasts can be found in the Food CPI and Expenditures on the ERS website.

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