Consumer confidence in the metropolitan region fell this past month on worries about rising food prices.
The Siena College Research Institute Wednesday reported its confidence index for Long Island, New York City and its northern suburbs was 77.9 points in January, a drop of 3.4 from December 2012.
The index hit a five-year high late last year despite the devastation from superstorm Sandy on Oct. 29.
Readings above 76 points indicate the number of people who are optimistic about their immediate economic future exceed those who are pessimistic.
Siena pollster Douglas Lonnstrom blamed the drop in confidence in part on grocery prices.
Sixty-seven percent of residents in the metro area said food costs were either a significant or very significant problem last month. That compares to 62 percent of poll respondents who felt the same way in December and 56 percent in November.
Retailers closely follow consumer confidence indexes because they indicate the willingness of shoppers to open their wallets.
Statewide, Siena found the number of people planning to purchase a home in the next six months had increased from a year ago. But those expecting to buy an automobile, furniture, computer or start a home improvement project all fell from January 2012.