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Retail Report: Central region, Lent a blessing

Catfish sales benefit from increased pricing, reduced promotions

by Staff Writer
August 01, 2012

Catfish is one of the top 10 dollar-contributing sub-categories to the seafood department. Nationally, catfish accounted for 3.7 percent of seafood department sales during the 52 weeks ending April 28, 2012, down less than a percentage point. 

However, dollar contribution varied greatly by region, with catfish accounting for 6.3 percent of the Central region’s department sales, while contributing only 1.3 percent in the Eastern region. Contribution was higher than the national average in the South, accounting for 5 percent of seafood department sales. The variation in department
contribution showed how regionally driven catfish sales were during the past year.

Catfish accounts for 9.8 percent of finfish category dollars. Of the 16 finfish sub-categories, only salmon and tilapia achieved higher dollar shares. Weekly sales averaged $238 per store, up 1.2 percent from the prior year. Average weekly catfish store sales peaked during the 2012 Lenten season, reaching $352 during the week ending March 10. Of the six weeks where average weekly store sales reached $300 or higher, five occurred during Lent. 

The South accounted for more than half (50.7 percent) of all catfish sales, bringing in a weekly average of $285 per store (up 1.7 percent from the prior year). However, the Central region had a higher weekly dollar average, at $356 per store. This was an increase of 4.1 percent, positioning the Central region with the fastest growing sales. The Eastern region had the lowest dollars per store per week ($129) and was the only region with a decrease, down 3.7 percent.

A 17 percent increase in average retail prices helped maintain dollar sales, with average weekly sales $2 higher during the 52-week period compared to the prior year. However, increased pricing might have negatively affected weekly volume per store, which declined 13.5 percent compared to the prior year. Promotional average retail pricing increased at a faster rate than non-promotional or everyday prices. This reduced the discount when catfish was on promotion and also contributed to higher weekly dollars per store. Nearly one-quarter of catfish volume was sold on promotion, down 7 percentage points from the prior year. 

The price increase during the latest 52 weeks was consistent with the longer-term upward trend. Over the past five years, average retail prices for catfish at stable stores increased year-over-year from a period low of $4.03 in 2007 to a high of $5.12 in 2011. This equated to an overall pricing increase of 27.2 percent in the five-year span.

Overall, increased pricing and reduced promotions benefitted catfish dollar sales during the 52 weeks, with growth occurring in every region except the East. 

This sales review is provided by the Nielsen Perishables Group in Chicago, which specializes in research, analytics, marketing communications, category development, promotional best practices and shopper insights. Reported results are for May 1, 2011, through April 28, 2012, compiled from grocery stores nationwide representing 62.3 percent of national supermarket ACV share. For more information, contact Kelli Beckel at: (773) 929-7013; kelli.beckel@nielsen.com

August 2012 - SeaFood Business 

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