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Retail Report: Higher promo prices stall sales

Average finfish prices increase 20 percent in five years


June 05, 2012

Overall, high prices and the start of the 2011 and 2012 Lenten seasons benefited the finfish category, with dollar growth observed in each region during the past year. 

Finfish is the largest category within fresh seafood, and accounted for 37.5 percent of seafood department sales during the 52 weeks ending Feb. 25, up 1.4 percentage points from the prior year. 

Over the past five years, average retail prices for finfish at stable stores increased consecutively year-over-year, from a low of $5.61 in 2007 to a high of $6.77 in 2011. This equated to an overall pricing increase of 20.7 percent.

During the 52 weeks, finfish brought in the most sales per store ($3,125) during the week of Feb. 25, which was the first week of the 2012 Lenten season. The second-highest sales occurred during the start of Lent 2011, the week ending March 12, 2011. The lowest week of sales during this period was the week of Thanksgiving with average sales of $1,624 per store. 

Nationally, average weekly dollar sales per store for finfish increased 6.6 percent from the prior year, while volume remained relatively steady. Finfish weekly dollars per store in the Central region increased at the fastest rate during the 52 weeks, up 8.4 percent from the prior year, demonstrating land-locked consumers in this region have growing demand for fresh finfish. The Southern region accounted for nearly
one-third (35.5 percent) of all finfish sales, bringing in a weekly average of $1,996 per store (up 6.7 percent from the prior year). However, this was the lowest average of all the regions. At $3,741 per store, the East had the highest average weekly dollar sales. 

A 7.6 percent increase in average retail prices had a positive impact on dollar sales nationally, with weekly dollars performing better than the prior year in all but five of the 52 weeks. For the weeks with decreased average dollars per store from the prior year, declines were minimal (3 percent or less). 

Promotional average retail prices for finfish increased 9 percent during the 52-week period, while non-promotional prices rose 6.5 percent. This reduced discount when finfish was on promotion also contributed to higher dollar sales. Nearly one-third (30.8 percent) of finfish volume was sold on promotion in the latest 52 weeks, down 2.4 percentage points from the prior year. Consumers likely were less responsive to promotions since the promotional prices were high.  

This sales review is provided by the Nielsen Perishables Group (N-PG), a Chicago-based fresh food consulting firm. Reported results are for Feb. 27, 2011, through Feb. 26, 2012, compiled from grocery stores nationwide representing 62.6 percent of national supermarket ACV share. For more information, contact Kelli Beckel at the Nielsen Perishables Group: (773) 929-7013; kelli.beckel@nielsen.com.

June 2012 - SeaFood Business 

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