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More competition crucial in stabilizing grocery prices, Freeland says

Pair of major Canadian grocers reported higher profits and sales in most recent quarter

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says more competition is needed in Canada’s grocery sector as consumers grapple with the rising cost of living.

Speaking at a press conference in Mascouche, Quebec, Freeland said major changes are needed to Canadian competition law in order to help stabilize prices.

Her comments came after two of the country’s major grocers reported higher profits and sales in the most recent quarter.

As Canadians increasingly look to save money, Loblaw and Metro said they’ve been converting stores to discount banners and are seeing higher sales growth in private-label brands.

This fall, the federal government called upon the major grocers to stabilize food prices, and last month, Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne announced that Loblaw, Metro, Empire, Walmart and Costco had presented their plans, which included discounts and price freezes.

The industry is also nearing the completion of a grocery code of conduct meant to provide guidelines for fair dealings between retailers and suppliers.

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