Cake House gives government one week ultimatum on bread prices

POSTED: 01/5/12 12:46 PM

“We are all involved. We will all be consumed”

St. Maarten – Cake House is giving the government a week to state its position on increased bread prices. If they don’t the supermarket’s management will follow Carl and Sons and raise their prices as well.

The announcement of the supermarket chain’s position was announced Wednesday by Rolex Cheung. He’s argued that an adjustment must be made so the supermarket can continue generating “a small profit” or even to break even.

“We have been absorbing the costs all along to protect the consumer but things may soon change,” Cheung said before revealing that Cake House has been keeping cost down by importing its own flour. Rising fuel and freight charges are eating away those savings though and are “fast becoming crippling.”

“Cake House tries to remain a good corporate citizen but has been discouraged by French bakeries on the Dutch side (that) are not following the price controls. But nobody complains,” Cheung said.

Sun Kwong Supermarket has already increased their prices for whole wheat, hamburger and sandwich breads by $0.25 and Le Grand Marche has raised their prices on whole wheat bread by at least 0.65 guilders. There were also increases at Sunny Food where the popular titi bread went from being four for $1.00 to being four for $1.25 – a 25 percent increase. Dutch Bakery has not increased its prices on whole wheat bread or French bread. They’ve been able to keep prices steady because they do not produce white slice bread.

The rises and potential rises have not inspired definitive comment from the government. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams was not ready to make a definitive statement because the Council of Ministers did not have their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday. That first meeting will be today and the prime minister expects matters like the increase in bread prices and other matters that “came up during the holidays” will be discussed today.

The government’s lack of position on whether businesses can raise the price of bread – which is a price controlled item – is a blow to low income earners.

“We are all involved. We will all be consumed,” one single mother lamented on Wednesday.

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