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Retail Report: Warm weather drives fresh tuna sales

Sales up 6.5 percent, average prices increase 5 percent

April 05, 2012

Fresh tuna sales increased 6.5 percent during the past year, averaging $79 in weekly sales per store in the 52 weeks ending Dec. 31, 2011, compared to $75 per store during the prior year. Fresh tuna’s average retail price increased 5 percent during the same time period. 

Tuna comprised 3.4 percent of finfish category sales in the fresh seafood department, up 0.1 percentage point versus the same period last year. The highest sales were between June and August, when the fish is most abundant in U.S. waters due to migration patterns. Weekly sales were highest the week ending July 9, at $114 per store (up 20.5 percent), coinciding with the Fourth of July holiday. The second-highest week of sales was the week ending June 4, with $113 per store (up 14.9 percent), coinciding with Memorial Day. These trends suggest tuna is becoming a more popular option for summer holiday picnics and barbecues.

Dollar sales per store increased in all four U.S. regions in 2011. The Eastern region led weekly tuna dollar sales, bringing in $102 per store (up 4.9 percent) compared to the Central region at $68 per store (up 15.1 percent). The Southern region brought in the second-highest sales per store per week at $79 (up 6.2 percent), while the Western region followed with $70 per store (up 4.2 percent).    

Regionally, fresh tuna sales had several sharp peaks and dips, with the highest sales generally occurring throughout the summer. The Southern region had more peaks during Lent than other regions, with high points at $119 per store the week ending March 19, and $116 per store the week ending April 16. The Eastern region outpaced the rest of the country in July with high sales of $163, $151 and $148 per store during the respective weeks ending July 9, July 23 and July 2. Tuna sales in the Central region were more consistent throughout the year, with the lowest sales coinciding with Thanksgiving week ending Nov. 26, at $31 per store.

This sales review is provided by the Nielsen-Perishables Group. Reported results are for Jan. 3, 2010, through Dec. 31, 2011, compiled from grocery stores nationwide representing 62.9 percent of national supermarket ACV share. For more information, contact Kelli Beckel at the Nielsen Perishables Group, (773) 929-7013,  Kelli.Beckel@nielsen.com. 

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