Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Too Many Chickens

February 27, 2009

VENEZUELA/Check out more grim news on the jobs front, from the food sector.

Pilgrim’s Pride became the latest consumer-related company to cut jobs when it said on Friday that it plans to idle three U.S. plants because of an oversupply of chicken and weak consumer demand. The plants, in Georgia, Louisiana and Arkansas, employ about 3,000 people, or about 7 percent of the company’s U.S. workers.

The chicken producer, which is fighting to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, said the closings were needed to reduce production of low-value meat that is draining its finances. 

But it’s not just chicken producers feeling the crunch of the recession. 

Reuters reporter Bob Burgdorfer wrote this week that Americans are eating more hamburgers and fewer steaks as the economy wallows in recession — leading to huge losses at U.S. feedyards that fatten the cattle for steaks.

The U.S. Agriculture Department has said that prices for cattle, hogs and turkeys will stay weak for much of this year because of oversupply even as the nation’s meat production declines.

Also in the basket:

Consumer confidence still low

Sony chief to oversee electronics unit

Gap’s Q4 shines but lack of outlook hurts shares

(Photo: Reuters)

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