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Retail Report: Cod a strong performer

Category sales driven by Lenten season

January 05, 2012

The average retail price has increased across all fresh food products in the past year, but the impact is strongest in seafood, where consumers tend to shy away from higher-priced purchases. Fresh seafood’s average retail price increased 8.9 percent in the 52 weeks ending Sept. 24, 2011, but cod’s price increase was not even half that — coming in at only 3.7 percent for the period. The slower price shift may have benefited the category, which saw weekly dollars per store rise by 17.8 percent to $168 in the same period.

Cod comprised 7.8 percent of the fresh finfish category, up less than 1 percentage point compared to the same period last year. The peak sales point for cod extended from New Year’s through the Lenten season, from January through April 2011. Weekly cod sales peaked the week ending March 12, 2011, at $274 per store. Sales during that week and the following two weeks increased more than 30 percent versus 2010. The slowest sales week was the week ending Nov. 27, 2010, which coincided with Thanksgiving, but at $107 per store, this week still reflected an increase of 31 percent over the prior year.

Sales increased in all four U.S. regions in the 52 weeks, and were up almost 18 percent overall. The Eastern region led weekly cod sales, bringing in $393 per store (up 16 percent) compared to the South at $81 per store (up almost 15 percent). Coming in second in weekly sales and trailing the Eastern region by more than $200 per store, the Central region sold cod at a rate of $185 per store per week, up 22 percent versus the previous year. The Western region had weekly sales of $140 per store, up 17 percent.

In line with the national trend, regional cod sales peaked between February and April with a steep decline in early May 2011. The Eastern region reached its peak in the week ending March 12, 2011, at $682 per store, up 55 percent vs. the previous year. The Central and Western regions’ weekly sales both peaked the same week at $344 (up almost 52 percent) and $221 (up 24 percent) per store, respectively. The Southern region peaked the week of Jan. 22, 2011, bringing in $118 per store, up almost 48 percent compared to the previous year.

This sales review is provided by Perishables Group, an independent consulting firm in Chicago focused on innovation and creating value for clients in the fresh food industry. Reported results are for Sept. 26, 2010, through Sept. 24, 2011, compiled from grocery stores nationwide, representing 61.5 percent of national supermarket ACV share. Sales data provided by Perishables Group FreshFacts® powered by Nielsen.
January 2012 - SeaFood Business

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