Many analysts blame the Wal-Mart effect, where grocery chains are slashing prices to maintain or perhaps even gain market share. At the same time, fast food and restaurant sales are "dropping off a cliff" because with lower grocery prices, people are choosing to dine at home.
But, to all of that I say "bull". The reason is because retail sales are also falling and have been falling for decades.
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Today, retail sales growth is at non-recession lows as noted by the trend line in the above graph. Simply, low food prices, falling restaurant sales, and falling retail sales, all point to the fact that American's wages are stagnant. Dining out and buying things has become a luxury. In fact, 7 out of 10 Americans surveyed said they have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts.
Olive Garden just signaled an ominous threat to the restaurant industry: http://www.businessinsider.com/olive-garden-darden-ceo-restaurant-industry-closures-2016-10
Grocery Prices Are Plunging: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-27/eight-cent-eggs-consumers-gobble-cheap-food-as-grocers-squirm
There's a simple reason fast-food sales are slowing: http://www.businessinsider.com/simple-reason-fast-food-sales-slowing-inflation-groceries-2016-9
United States Retail Sales: http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/retail-sales-annual
Analysts Say Food Prices Have Tumbled to a ‘Completely Unprecedented’ Low: http://www.grubstreet.com/2016/09/food-prices-are-now-at-a-completely-unprecedented-low.html
Nearly 7 in 10 Americans have less than $1,000 in savings: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2016/10/09/savings-study/91083712/