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Fighting for the food dollar.

An interesting post about the impact on retail food prices from consumers cutting back on casual dining expenditures. The result is unexpected.

Consumers Reduced Food Spending

Two public data sources--ERS's Food Expenditure Tables and the BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE)--track U.S. food spending over time, and both showed declines during the 2007-09 recession (see box, "The ERS Food Expenditure Tables and BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey"). The CE data allow a look at household-level spending and trends. According to the CE, real total food spending by U.S. households declined 5 percent between 2006 and 2009. In 2006, before the recession began, total food spending by all households peaked at $726 billion, according to calculations based on the CE and the BLS Consumer Price Index. By 2008, real food spending in 2006 dollars was down to $709 billion, and in 2009, spending dropped even more, to $690 billion.

Two key retail sales trade indices:

Same-store sales is an important indicator for retailers, especially the brick and mortar businesses. This includes retailers and restaurants like Walmart (WMT), Kroger (KR), Costco COST), McDonald’s (MCD), Yum! Brands (YUM), Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), and others.