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Recently the Ashburton butchers have been content to: sit tight and accept much criticism from the local public regarding the excessive prices charged for meat during the' past three months, and have apparently Been afraid to present to their customers a statement of either profit or loss. With a view to assisting to solve the mystery with which the meat business appears to be shrouded, a resident of this district agreed, at the request of a "Guardian" representative, to make a practical test, and the figures as disclosed will astonish a large section of this comunity, and will also help to explain the silence j of the butchers. They will also serve to show why substantial reductions have been iriade in the price of meat retailed in Christchurch. The resident referred to purchased an ordinary fat wether, weight 601bs, at 275. Having. killed the wether, he next disposed' of the $kin, for which he received Bs. The actual cost of the meat then worked out at 4d per lb all round. Had the butcher handled the same wether he would have been asked to pay Is 3d for abattoir charges, but this would have been counteracted by • four lbs of fat, which the resident did not take into consideration, and for which the butcher would receive 3d per lb at the very least. It. is also under- ' stood that the butchers receive a' few i pence per carcase for the offal, so that the fat and the latter would about bal- , ance the abattoir charge. The resident carried his test a step further and bought a lamb 441bs in weight, for which he paid 255, and af- ' ter disposing of the skin at 7s 4d, the meat worked out at 4fd per lb. Taking 601bs as a fair average for the sheep slaughtered, and as the average sheep killed by each of the three leading butchers in Ashburton-• works out at 80 per month, and if the meat- were i retailed at 8d per lb. it gives a turn- j over of £80 on mutton for each ' butcher. Against this a cer- ] tain amount of waste takes place, ! but the consumer must not imagine j that tho said waste is excessive, for some of it is passed over to him in the form of sausages at 6d per lb. Then the butcher has his expenses to meet, winch includes rent, but at least one of the three butchers referred to does

not pay more than £2 per week rent. Take all his expenses into consideration, and in his mutton transactions alone at present prices of stock the butcher has a substantial margin of profit. His transactions, however, do not end here, for he also" has his turnover in beef; and any man who knows airy thing about the current prices of fats will be prepared to state that theAshburton butchers are not, retailing beef at a loss. .

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Bibliographic details

PROFITS ON MUTTON., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9597, 29 April 1919

Word Count

PROFITS ON MUTTON. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9597, 29 April 1919