By Jessica DiNapoli
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Dollar Tree Inc has stopped selling eggs in its Dollar Tree stores, a spokesperson for the U.S. retailer confirmed late Tuesday, as the staple food has skyrocketed in price by as much as 60% during the fall.
The chain, which is increasingly a go-to grocery destination for cash strapped shoppers, has roughly 8,000 Dollar Tree stores across the United States and Canada. Its spokesperson said it does not anticipate being able to bring eggs back into its stores for sale until later this fall.
Egg prices hit record highs of close to an average of $5 a dozen in January, according to economic data, due to a global outbreak of the avian flu. In consumer pricing data released by the government Tuesday, egg prices fell 6.7% in February.
Eggs are big sellers ahead of the spring holidays of Easter and Passover.
Chesapeake, Virginia-based Dollar Tree has been investing in its refrigerated and frozen food and beverage offerings as shoppers increasingly turn to its stores for bargains due to the shaky economy. But, the retailer has also faced inflation.
The chain announced it would raise prices to $1.25 from $1 in 2021, and in some stores is offering goods like frozen meals for $3 and $5.
Dollar Tree still sells butter in a few markets, the spokesperson said. Butter was also up in price over 20% in February compared to a year ago, according to economic data.
Consumer advocates have criticized Dollar Tree and its main competitor Dollar General Corp for selling junk food and driving grocery stores offering fresher produce out of business.
Dollar Tree also operates 8,200 Family Dollar stores, which sell items up to $10. Those stores still have eggs, the spokesperson said.
Dollar General Corp currently has “solid in-stock levels” of eggs at its roughly 19,000 stores, the company said in a statement.
(Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Aurora Ellis)