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Canada groceries: Canadians slam price difference on Aveeno baby cream at Dollarama vs. Shoppers Drug Mart

اخبار العرب-كندا 24: الأربعاء 12 يونيو 2024 05:34 مساءً

As Canadians turn to dollar stores and smaller grocery chains amid inflation, a cost of living crisis and a Reddit-led boycott of Loblaw-affiliated stores, shoppers are noticing a stark price difference on identical products.

The latest? A shopper posted a recent viral Reddit thread showing Aveeno baby cream being sold for $5 at Dollarama. The same product at the same quantity — 166 millilitres — is being sold for $18.49 at Shoppers Drug Mart. That is nearly a whopping four times the Dollarama price at the Loblaw-owned pharmacy chain.

As many users commented, how can that be? One aptly noted, “This feels like the worst I’ve ever seen.”

Several shared previous shopping experiences at Dollarama where they found products — including paper towels, chocolate, even pregnancy tests — for significantly less than at big-box grocers.

“How are Dollarama prices able to be so much cheaper than everywhere else anyway?,” one commenter asked. “I went into one for the first time in years a month ago for paper towels and toilet paper and I came out with a whole bunch of 90 cent chocolate bars because they were so cheap and I don't think I've seen chocolate bars for that price since the late 90s lol.”

Naturally, many expressed outrage at Shoppers, along with other major retailers like Loblaws, for upselling. Some theorized about what could be behind the price discrepancy, speculating it may be faulty or expired product, or just fake branding, which is a common belief when it comes to dollar stores. Others assumed Dollarama “is simply losing an incredible amount of money selling at extreme loss.”

So, what is the truth?

Dollarama store in South Edmonton Common. On Friday, May 20, 2022, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Dollarama store in South Edmonton Common. On Friday, May 20, 2022, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“The product selection at Dollarama is curated to focus on high turnover items and essentials, often in smaller package sizes, with few options,” explains Sylvain Charlebois, senior director at Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab. ”This helps reduce waste and keep prices low. They also stock overstock or close-out items from other stores, which can be bought at a discount and sold cheaply. While Dollarama does offer many essential items at low prices, their inventory can be inconsistent.”

Which means the store might not carry, let’s say, Aveeno baby cream, permanently. Products like these are available temporarily because of overstock or close-out deals from other retailers.

As some Reddit users pointed out, sometimes the unit prices might be bigger, which can be confusing. But there’s a reason for that.

Charlebois says, “Dollarama often sells items in smaller package sizes compared to what is available at big grocers. While the overall price might be lower, the unit price could be higher, but it doesn’t happen often in food. For some items, especially essentials and non-perishables, Dollarama does offer competitive unit prices most of the time, but not always.”

TORONTO, ON - September 14  - Dollarama Inc. reported its second-quarter profit rose compared with a year ago as its sales also climbed nearly 20 per cent.September 14, 2023. Even as inflation continues to rankle consumers, Dollarama Inc.'s chief executive says the launch of a new $5 price point has been

In other words, Dollarama is indeed a good option if you’re looking for more affordable groceries and supplies. And no, you don’t have to worry about the store slapping fake labels onto their products. If you see Lysol wipes, they’re Lysol wipes, and if you grab some Reynolds Wrap, it’s Reynolds Wrap.

But, Charlebois says, it all depends on how we define branding. He explains, “Dollarama carries many obscure brands, but they are legitimate brands nonetheless. And these brands are indeed affordable. They often position these lesser-known brands alongside more well-known national brands to create a favourable comparison for consumers.”

Which is why it’s important to pay attention when you pick up just about any product and cost-compare. While it doesn’t really matter when it comes to, say, cleaning products, if you’re considering buying food from the dollar store, you may want to double-check expiry dates.

Dollarama carries many obscure brands, but they are legitimate brands nonetheless. And these brands are indeed affordable.

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