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A "Guardian" representative took advantage of the weekly stock sale today to interview some well-known authorities in the meat market in regard to the present retail prices charged in Ashburton by the local butchers. The question put in each instance' was: "Do you consider the butchers would be justified in" reducing the price of meat all round by_ Id per lb ?" and in each instance tile reply was "Yes." .

One of the gentlemen interviewed stated that it had to be remembered that in the sprinp- the butchers paid stiff prices for their fat stock, as they were then competing with the freezing buyers: and when their waste was taken into consideration, he did not think the butchers were then making much profit, although they were selling at a price which should, have safeguarded their interests. He was not in a position to state what the expenses were in a retail shop, but he noticed they had been reduced by the non-delivery system. If the Christchurch butchers in a small way could make a reduction with their high rents, it was reasonable to assume that the local butchers could do the same. Another point in favour of the reduction, and the most important of all. was that latterly the.butchers-have had the market to themselves, the competition from freezing buyers being practically eliminated. . At the Timvald yards during the last sale the butchers got some really good nibbles, and were twitted by those standing round the rails that the price of meat would soon be on the decrease. At the present time there was no legitimate excuse to offer to the public why the high prices should continue. There was noshortage_ of stock. What; might happen during the winter remained to be seen. The outlook for feed was not too bright. Tlie turnip crops had practically turned out to be a failure, but if sufficient rain fell they might still revive. A lot would also depend on the shipping. At the present time the outlook for emptying the stores in Canterbury was not too-bright. All the meat that one steamer could take away would make but a small hole in the stocks held in thfe freezers. It would reouire.about six steamers to make any noticeable impression. There appeared to be a tendency at present to divert th! shipping to the Argentine, to meet the requirements of the Imperial market. ' , Another representative of a large firm, when interviewed, stated most emphatically that the butchers should reduce the price considerably, because thev'were in a very good position to do so and still show a fair margin of profit. The conditions prevailing here and ,in Christchurch in regard to supplies were' identically the same, aud what the butchers in one locality could do, the others could take a similar step. He considered the average drop in the price of ..mutton' was roughly 7s 6d per head, although* it.might be a little less. Up to 'nearly three months ago steer beef was .selling at 46s per 1001b, and cow beef at 40s to 425. Now it was' considerably below that figure.

The views of a farmer were then obtained, and the latter confirmed those, already stated above. The butchers, he said, should lower the price immediately, and if it Mere found necessary later on., if fats became scarce and prices advanced, they could again jpass tlie increase on to their customers. A consumer, whose average meat account is fairly substantial, called at the ... " Guardian " • office to-day Jand stated that she was in accord with the sentiments conveyed in yesterday's leader that.a reduction should'be made in the price of meat. , From her own personal experience she was obliged to cut her purchasing' of meat down to the bare minimum of the household needs. She was sure that the retail j trade would increase proportionately with a reduced price, and thus a larger turnover for the butchers. Our Rakaia correspondent writes:' — Rakaia, housekeepers appear to have benefited by the recent heavy drop in the prices of stock, as a reduction in the price of mutton has been announced. |

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Bibliographic details

MEAT PRICES, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9587, 15 April 1919

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MEAT PRICES Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9587, 15 April 1919