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Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - March 23, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta Food chains may have to eat their words By RON SUDLOYV TORONTO (CP) - Food chains which have been advertising customer savings through "deep" discounts, "deep-cut" prices and "miracle" discounts may soon have to eat those words. Although consumers are still the winners in a discount price war among eastern Canadian supermarket chains, prices have been edging steadily upward since an initial plunge in November when discount pricing began in earnest. "Studies that are being done indicate that prices are going up," says Mrs. W. A. Brechin, chairman of national consumer research, Consumers' Association of Canada. "Many prices have gone up past the level they \ ere in October but the average food bill (in Toronto) is still six per cent below what it was then. We're getting quite a few calls about price in- Mrs. Brechin says consumers are starting to distrust the major chains now that prices are going up. CONSUMERS UNHAPPY "There is more dissatisfaction among consumers now than before this started and they are beginning to distrust the chain stores. "When the price war started they said 'if they could do it at these prices now they must have been making a big profit before.' "Now that prices are going up they are wondering how long it will last." Dominion Stores Ltd. was first to enter the price war when it announced its "deep discount" policy, apparently as a move to match the success of Steinberg's Ltd., which began "miracle pricing" two years ago. Dominion was quickly followed by Loblaw Groceterias Co., Ltd. and The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. took the plunge in early January after an employees' strike closed its stores for three The companies involved in the price-cutting operate almost exclusively in eastern Canada. The discounting is primarily in major Ontario centres, Montreal and Halifax. Dominion has about 400 stores, Loblaw about 210 in the eastern provinces, A and P about 220 and Steinberg's about 180. SOME PRICES UP Food prices indexes published by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics since the price war began show some consumers are ahead of the game but prices in some discount cities have gone beyond what they were in November. In Toronto, the index (based on 100 in 1961) was 126.2 in November. It dipped to 122.1 in December but climbed back to 123.9 in January and 125.1 in February. In Ottawa it was 127.2 in November, fell to 125.7 in December, approached the old level at 127.1 in January, and " it at 128.8 in Febru- ary. In Montreal, the index was 123.3 in (November, 122.5 in December, 124.0 in January and 125.0 in February. In Halifax, it was 127.6 in November, 124.8 in December, 125.1 in January and 125.3 in February. You can practise new mail system OTTAWA (CP) - Canadians writing letters to MPs, government deparments or friends in Ottawa will be able to practise with a new postal code after April 1. But since the machines required to read the new codes won't be installed for "about 15 months" that's all it will be- practice. At a news conference today, Jean-Pierre Cote, minister responsible for the post office, said the new system for addressing letters will be in effect by 1974, when machinery will be installed in 15 major post offices across the country. But Canadians will be given and encouraged to use their code numbers over the next few 7 candidates in running WINNIPEG (CP) - Seven candidates are in the running for two April 5 provincial by-elections which will have a crucial effect on the minority position of Manitoba's NDP government. Nominations closed with a straight three - party fight in Ste. Rose, a rural constituency in western Manitoba. An independent joined the race in St. Vital, a riding in metropolitan Winnipeg. Fred Werbiski is the Liberal candidate seeking to hold Ste. Rose, left vacant by the appointment of former Liberal leader Gil Molgat to the Senate. His opponents are Conservative John Boerchers and Pete Adam of the NDP. Optician Jim Walding is trying again for the NDP in St. Vital, where he lost to Conservative J. A. Hardy in the 1969 general election by only 23 votes. Mr. Hardy has since left the province. School board chairman Dan Kennedy is running for the Liberals in St.- Vital while the Conservative standard - bearer is architect Kenneth Pratt. Independent Samuel Boardman rounts out the field. months. A promotional program expected to cost "some hundreds of thousands of dollars" will be implemented to encourage people to use the new codes, Mr. Cote said. It is hoped that by the time the machines are ready, Canadians will be in the habit of using their codes. Total cost of the new system is expected to be between $60 and $80 million. BETTER THAN ZIP CODE Mr. Cote said the new code will speed the work of sorting and sending Canada's estimated 5 billion yearly pieces of mail. He described the code system, based on a combination of three numbers and three letters from the alphabet, as superior to the all-number zip code used in the United States and an improvement over a similar coding system in Britain. Its biggest asset is that the combination of letters and figures allow machines to sort mail for individual businesses, apartment houses with more than 50 suites, and for homes in a single city block. Neither the American nor the British system can do this. Mr. Cote said the life span of the new system is expected to be about 30 years. By the year 2,000, he said, there probably will be machines that can read addresses and thus eliminate the need for. .code numbers. But the system is flexible enough to last "much longer" if it is needed. The present system of postal zones will be dropped as the new codes are introduced, Mr. Cote said. Mr. Cote emphasized that no postal employees will lose their jobs as the new system takes over. But fewer people may be j hired after the machines take effect. People using the codes can expect to have about 24 hours cut off the time letters are mailed to the time they are received. The machinery used to work with the code is to be established in Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, London, Ont., Windsor, Ont., Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria and Vancouver. Art dealer faces court EDMONTON (CP) - An Edmonton art dealer is to appear in court on April 16 on charges of keeping obscene material that were laid following the seizure of five drawings by morality detectives. The drawings were seized from the Studio d'Or Gallery in downtown Edmonton and manager Martin Carmelly was given a summons. The works, biblical quota-tations superimposed on drawings of nudes, were those of Prof. Roger Silvester of the University of Alberta. The exhibition, consisting of 15 silk screen pictures and en-, titled The Song of Solomon, was designed to portray spiritual rather than physical love. Prof Silvester said in notes distributed at the gallery. "I have been fascinated for some time with the fine balance between the erotic and spiritual in this classic poem and have, I think, finally found adequate visual imagery with which to create a harmonious balance against the text." "Whatever the response, I trust the series will be viewed more as an attempt to illustrate spiritual union by use of interdependent picture and text, rather more than a pictorial r e p r e sentation of physical love." The food chains maintained the price increases were caused by higher labor costs and cost increase.' in areas such as transportation and packaging. "There have been several increases in the industry but we have not advanced our prices beyond those backstage in the industry," said one chain store executive who asked that his name and that of his company not be mentioned. When the price war began, some items were marked down as much as three times in one day. Leon Weinstein, director of consumer affairs for Loblaw Companies Ltd. which operate Loblaw Groceterias Ltd., says price-cutting is still going on. 'Prices of competitors are still being watched. . . . The phone is ringing constantly as store managers report what the other fellow is doing." NOW ROCK BOTTOM Another chain store executive said prices now are "as low as they can be and nobody's going to start knocking them any lower now." The price war has been affecting company profits. Dominion reported a loss of $1,786,000 in the third quarter of its current fiscal year, a period that ended Dec. 19. The loss contrasted with a profit of $2,579,000 for the same period a year earlier although sales this quarter were up 19 per cent. Steinberg's, which had a similar increase in sales, reported a 7.17-per-cent decline in profit to $3,718,906 in the 24 weeks ended Jan. 9 from $4,006,517 in the same period the previous year. The Steinberg's report also included operations of its 26 Miracle Mart department stores. Loblaw Companies reported this month it had a 29-per-cent decline in net earnings for the 40 weeks to Jan. 2, although sales were up slightly. INCOME LOWER Net income was $4,693,000 compared with $6,587,000 for the same period a year earlier. The Loblaw report also included other operations. No recent figures were available for A and P. All four of tlk) big chains say they are not losing customers. A survey by graduate students of the University of Toronto business school said that in December Dominion retained a 47-per-cent increase in customers it gained when it went discount in November. The survey, which covered 1,500 families in the Toronto area, said Steinberg's Miracle Food Mart stores, which had lost 27 per cent of their customers in November, began to regain them in December. It said Loblaws stayed even in November but lost ground in December. The surveys, which did not include A and P stores, stopped in January, Ed Harvison, director of public relations for Dominion Stores, said the store's new policy "is actually calling for increased efficiency and productiveness and this is the status we have today." HIT FALL LEVEL F. C. Kennedy, president of A and P, said that despite the late entry into the discount field and a labor strike, "we are now ahead of our customer count of last August and very close to what it was at the end of October." Jim Doyel, vice-president of Steinberg's, said in Montreal his company has never been in the price war because it adopted its discount policy two years ago but "I think we've maintained our position very well." Mr. Weinstein said Loblaws is continuing to maintain volume "but profits are continuing to be pressed." Who are the losers in the price-cutting battle? The University of Toronto report said that small chains arid independent supermarkets "lost heavily in November and continue to show a deteriorating picture" in December. Mr. Weinstein said, "the real victims are the smaller independents." "The smaller independents are getting killed while the consumer benefits. It's regrettable the government has not taken steps to protect the I small merchants." NEED BEER He suggested the government regulate store hours so the smaller stores could gain an advantage in this area. He also said they should be allowed to sell beer. Arnold Rands, general manager of the Canadian Federation of Retail Grocers, said the smaller supermarkets are doing "not. too bad sales-wise but not too good profit-wise." He said that when the discounting began his group "pointed out to the government what was going to happen. ... It was inevitable if prices were unreasonably low." "They didn't figure this was to hell with it. Yet they covered by any legislation feioa^d when food prices went ., . ... . _ J .f* .. down. Now they are going up that they knew of so tfaey said again." WHALE OF A TIME - Killer whale Hyak swims past aquarium curator Vince Penfold in preparation for move to larger pool. One-ton Hyak and 4,095-pound Skana were moved with a large canvas sling and a crane and lifted into their 92 by 48 foot pool, which holds 400,000 gallons of pure sea water. Pair denied bail MONTREAL (CP) - Author Pierre Vallieres and teacher Charles Gagnon were refused bail Monday on grounds that a charge of seditious conspiracy against them is too serious to warrant their release. They are to stand trial next month. Vallieres and Gagnon are also accused of membership in the outlawed Front de Liberation du Quebec. The two were among five Quebecers who had a seditious conspiracy charge against them quashed earlier this year. But a new charge was laid against Vallieres, Gagnon and Jacques Larue-Langlois, a former CBC broadcasting producer who has been out on bail since last December. The other two persons, labor leader Michel Chartrand and lawyer Robert Lemieux, still await trial on membership in the FLQ, which claimed responsibility for last October's kidnapping of British envoy James Cross and the kidnap-killing of Pierre Laporte, then Quebec's labor minister. Meanwhile, Claude Morency, Andre Roy and Francois Lanc-tot, all accused of FLQ membership and other crimes, were also denied bail. Mr. Justice Francois Chevalier of Court of Queen's Bench said he doubted the three would return to court if granted bail. Tuesday, March 23, 1971 - THI LCTHBRIDGE HERALD - 5 Extra holiday for carpenters CALGARY (CP) - Carpenters in six Alberta centres approved a two-year contract here which gives them a 25.5-per-cent increase in wages and another statutory holiday. About 4,300 members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America in Edmonton, Red Deer, Leth-bridge, Medicine Hat, Edsoh and Calgary are affected. The base rate of $4.70 an hour will increase by 30 cents April 1, 15 cents Oct. 1, 35 cents April 1, 1972, 15 cents Oct. 1, 1972, and 20 cents Jan. 1, 1973. The last increase will be accompanied by another five cents for health and welfare. Contractors are expected to vote on the agreement, already approved by negotiators and to take effect April 1, in a week. The extra holiday brings to 10 the number of statutory days off for the union. Kids in Irish nurseries act out real-life dramas BELFAST (Reuter) - Children at play in the nurseries of Northern Ireland build toy barricades and hurl make-believe gasoline bombs across them, says a report issued Monday by the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children. At the age of four or five, the children are apparently acting out' the real-life dramas they see in the streets, the report says. "Children in poor Belfast are traumatized in two ways: Firstly they are affected by the burnings, shootings and tensions and seek release from them. Secondly they are experiencing the daily grind of real poverty." The report says that in some nurseries the first thing teachers have to do is to feed the children because they are hungry when they arrive. DRAGGED FROM FACTORY MELBOURNE, Australia (Reuter) - Police and firemen dragged 29 fainting women from a gas-filled factory Monday in a Melbourne suburb. The gas came from a chemical leak at a big hoisiery factory. Police reported no one was seriously hurt. ART DIETRICH DENTURE CLINIC Certified Dental Mechanic Metropolitan Bldg. 328-4095 HARRY STROM ANNOUNCES THE FORMATION OF THE ALBERTA ECOLOGY CORPS PROVIDING 1300 SUMMER JOBS Premier Harry Strom has announced that the Provincial Government is establishing the Corps due to concern for environmental problems and for providing summer employment to students of universities, colleges, and technical, schools. The Corps will provide worthwhile summer occupation to many post-secondary students, and jobs will also be available in other Government departments. Students interested in working to help themselves and Alberta this summer should write to: Alberta Ecology Corps, Legislative Building, Edmonton PROVINCE OF ALBERTA Harry Strom, Premier ;