Calculations by one daily newspaper indicated that margins vary more widely at food retailers than the competitive landscape would seem to support.
Selver, an Estonian-owned grocery chain, and the Finnish Prisma Peremarket had especially high markups, said Postimees, in an analysis based on gross profit margin figures.
The paper's rankings, based on its own calculations and reported figures, showed that Selver and Prisma each had over 20 percent margins, with the Swedish ICA-operated Rimi having 11.3 and Maxima Estonia (Lithuania) just 2.3 percent.
With food prices having increased more over the years than in other sectors, the search is on for answers. In the past, theories have ranged to a never-proven cartel agreement between retail chains to unorthodox explanations, such as a Tartu economist's assertion this week that the market is oversaturated with food stores and that they had too much inventory.