CNN Business: Last year, people were stockpiling food and essentials at stores and ordering a lot more groceries online. That was great news for America's biggest grocery chains. Now companies say the pandemic-time boom is over. Kroger (KR), the largest supermarket chain in this country, said Thursday that it expects comparable sales, or sales at stores open for at least one year, to decline by 3% to 5% this year.
The sales downturn dovetails with the widespread arrival of various vaccines, which makes it possible for consumers to shift back to eating more meals at restaurants and outside of their homes.
Consumers may find more items on sale in stores, however. "You'll see aggressive promotions," said Burt Flickinger, managing director at retail consulting firm Strategic Resource Group. Promotions on products largely disappeared last year as many consumers were more focused on snapping up goods than finding the lowest price. Flickinger believes the promotions may be most notable among big consumer brands, which are working to fend off cheaper store brands.