The high cost of eggs has led Dollar Tree to take the food off its store shelves.
Dollar Tree has stopped selling eggs, the retail and grocery chain confirmed to multiple media outlets this week – pointing to expensive egg prices that persist.
In recent months, the price of eggs skyrocketed to record-high levels. Costs have begun to fall for consumers, with a 6.7% drop in February, but egg prices are still up 55% over the past year. As of February, producers saw an annual 38% rise in egg costs, according to CNN.
Shoppers saw an average cost of $4.21 a carton for Grade A eggs in February, down from $4.82 in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In contrast, Grade A eggs cost about $2 a carton in February 2022.
Dollar Tree – which advertises a primary price point to $1.25 for most of its products, as well as some $3 and $5 items – told CNN that it can’t afford to sell eggs amid these prices.
“The cost of eggs is currently very high,” Dollar Tree spokesperson Randy Guiler told the outlet. Guiler added that Dollar Tree will bring back eggs when “costs are more in line with historical levels.”
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A Dollar Tree spokesperson told Reuters, which first reported the news, the chain does not anticipate bringing eggs back into Dollar Tree stores until the fall.
Unlike Dollar Tree, Family Dollar stores, which are also owned by Dollar Tree, Inc., still have eggs and will continue to sell them, Reuters and CNN reported.
Dollar Tree did not immediately return a request for comment Saturday from USA TODAY.
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Why did egg prices soar in recent months?
The rising egg prices seen in recent months notably resulted from increases in demand, high production costs and the outbreak of bird flu.
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Earlier this year, lawmakers and farmer-led advocacy group Farm Action also called for an investigation into possible price gouging by producers – pointing to record profits posted by Cal-Maine Foods, the largest U.S. producer of eggs.
Wholesale inflation fell in February
Wholesale price increases, impacting how much retailers pay when buying products from manufacturers, slowed significantly last month.
From January to February, the government’s producer price index fell 0.1% – in contrast to a 0.3% rise from December to January. Compared with a year ago, wholesale prices rose 4.6%, a big drop from the 5.7% annual increase in January.
A leading driver of February’s wholesale inflation slowdown was a huge drop in the wholesale prices of eggs, which fell 36.1% in February.
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Meanwhile, consumer prices increased 6% from a year earlier, down from 6.4% in January and a 40-year high of 9.1% in June, according to the Labor Department’s consumer price index. Grocery prices overall are still climbing higher but more slowly – rising by 0.3% from January and 10.2% over the past year.
Contributing: Paul Davidson, USA TODAY; The Associated Press.