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Retail Report: Out of the slump?

A review of third quarter 2012 retail trends

February 01, 2013

During the first two quarters of 2012, the seafood department experienced modest but steady gains compared to the previous year. The third quarter of last year followed this trend, with larger gains in weekly average dollar and volume sales than both Q1 and Q2. This positive, sustained sales movement could be an indicator of seafood’s slow rise from the slump of recent years.

The seafood department’s average weekly dollar sales increased a solid 5.9 percent during the third quarter. Average weekly volume sales movement was also positive, increasing 7.4 percent from the previous year. Average retail prices amongst the three seafood super-categories (fresh, prepared and other seafood) either remained steady or declined slightly from the previous year, aiding department volume growth.   

Fresh seafood dominated sales, accounting for 80.6 percent of department sales. Prepared seafood followed with 15.9 percent of department sales, with other seafood (dips and spreads, sauces, sides) accounting for the remaining 3.5 percent of seafood sales. Seafood department sales increased across super-categories and across U.S. regions during the quarter. The Southern region had the greatest growth compared to the previous year, with average weekly dollars sales per store increasing 8 percent compared to the third quarter of 2011. At $6,358, the South had the second-highest average weekly dollar sales per store, behind the Eastern region. The East also had a notable increase in average weekly dollar sales, up 6.6 percent to $9,897 per store, which was well above the national average of $6,393. The Central and Western regions each had modest growth in weekly dollar sales from the previous year, posting sales of $5,061 and $4,794 per store, respectively. Volume movement was also positive across regions during the third quarter, particularly in the East, which increased average weekly volume sales per store by 9.6 percent compared to the previous year. 

The highest-selling week for the seafood department during that quarter was the week of the Fourth of July; that week posted average sales of $7,616 per store. The second-highest-selling week in Q3 was the week ending Aug. 11. An 8.2 percent increase in fresh seafood boosted sales during this week, driven primarily by the shrimp category. The week of Sept. 8, Labor Day week, was another high-selling week for seafood, posting $6,903 per store. 

The seafood department posted a slight decline in average retail prices, down 1.3 percent compared to the third quarter of 2011. Fresh seafood was responsible for the department’s small average retail price decline, decreasing 2.2 percent compared to the previous year. The price decline in fresh seafood can be attributed to finfish, which declined 3 percent to an average retail price of $5.49, and crustaceans, which declined 14 percent to $8.49. Both prepared and other seafood maintained average retail price compared to the previous year. 

This sales review is provided by Nielsen Perishables Group. Based in Chicago, Nielsen Perishables Group specializes in measurement, analytics, marketing communications, category development, promotional best practices and shopper insights. Reported results are for July 7, 2012, through Sept. 29, 2012. Results were compiled from key U.S. grocery, mass/supercenter and club chains, including 17,000 stores nationwide. For more information, contact Kelli Beckel at the Perishables Group: 773.929.7013; kelli.beckel@nielsen.com.

Find other SeaFood Business Retail Report articles here.

February 2013 - SeaFood Business  

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