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Ontario Record's Weakest Monthly Foodservice Sales

TORONTO - Ontario recorded the weakest foodservice sales growth of any Canadian province in October, with only a 0.1% increase in sales compared with the same month in 2003, reported the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice Association here.

The province's foodservice industry has struggled in recent months due to below-average temperatures and a depressed tourism industry, the association explained. On a year-to-date basis, Ontario foodservice sales advanced 4.4% in the first ten months of 2004 due to strong gains in the first four months of the year.

Including Ontario's weak sales, foodservice sales in Canada advanced 5.0%; excluding Ontario, industry sales were up a robust 8.6% over October 2003, the CRFA said.

New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Alberta posted double-digit gains in October. Pent-up consumer demand moved New Brunswick to the top spot, leading the country with a 16.9% increase in sales. Quebec registered its strongest monthly gain in more than two years with a 10.7% sales increase.

In contrast, foodservice sales in Manitoba stumbled in October, with only 1.3% growth following four months of healthy gains. Sales in Saskatchewan's foodservice industry remained weak, advancing just 0.2% in October. With 1.5% year-to-date growth in sales, Saskatchewan will rank last in growth for the second consecutive year, and will record its fourth consecutive year of declining real sales.

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