Janet Yellen reopens grocery stores after blunt comments on rising prices

Still no sticker shock, Janet?

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was spotted stocking up on groceries on Saturday — after brushing off a question about inflation and rising food prices earlier this week.

Yellen, 77, and her husband, economist George Akerlof, stopped at a Giant Food store in Washington, DC, after having lunch at the Japanese restaurant Raku.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is seen shopping at a Washington, DC grocery store with her husband on June 29, 2024. Matt Simmons, NY Post
Yellen and George Akerlof stock up at a Giant Food store. Matt Simmons, NY Post
Yellen's security personnel were also present with the couple. Matt Simmons, NY Post

The millionaire couple were accompanied by six security guards, but they pushed their carts filled with reusable Fresh Direct grocery bags out of the store on their own after stocking up.

Yellen – who has an estimated net worth of $20 million – faced criticism this week after she dismissed concerns about rising grocery prices in the US.

Yellen's trip to the grocery store comes after she brushed off questions about inflation and rising food prices earlier this week. Matt Simmons, NY Post
Yellen told Yahoo Finance that she goes grocery shopping every week. Matt Simmons, NY Post
Yellen and Akerlof pulled their own carts loaded with groceries. Matt Simmons, NY Post
Yellen denied there was “sticker shock” in store. Matt Simmons, NY Post

“Have you been to the grocery store lately?” Yahoo Finance's Jennifer Schoenberger asked during the meeting on Monday.

“Of course I go every week,” Yellen replied.

“It's shocking, isn't it? When you look at shipping costs, they've gone down, global food commodity prices have gone down, but food prices are still high. Should the U.S. invest in agriculture to boost the food supply in this country?” Schoenberger asked.

However, Yellen began to say “no” even before Schoenberger could complete his question.

Yellen and her husband also stopped at Raku Restaurant for lunch. Matt Simmons, NY Post
Yellen claimed the rising prices reflect rising input costs and labor costs that grocery stores are facing. Matt Simmons, NY Post
Yellen and Akerlof leaving the restaurant. Matt Simmons, NY Post

“I think it mainly reflects cost increases, including labor cost increases, that grocery firms have experienced, although there may be some margin growth,” Yellen argued, adding that she had met with several grocery CEOs who said they were cutting costs on essential items such as bread and milk.

“I think it's to be applauded, I think things like that are helpful, but I would be reluctant to agree that we should centralise agriculture,” she said.

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