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Retail Report: Holidays drive prepared seafood sales

Eastern region propels weekly prepared seafood sales

June 01, 2013

Consumer demand for convenient, prepared-meal options has proven to be more than a passing fad. The prepared seafood super-category, the second-largest contributor to seafood sales behind fresh seafood, has had steady sales growth since 2011 and continued this trend during the past year. 

During the 52 weeks ending Feb. 23, prepared seafood’s contribution to total seafood sales remained unchanged at 17.2 percent. Average weekly prepared seafood sales per store increased 0.8 percent to $1,134. Prepared seafood is made up of three categories — meals, surimi seafood and “other” prepared seafood. “Other” prepared seafood (including marinated fish, prepared fish, crustaceans, platters and mollusks) contributed 86 percent to prepared-seafood dollar sales, followed by surimi seafood (11.7 percent) and meals (2.3 percent). 

Nationally, the East was the only region that increased average weekly dollar sales of prepared seafood. The Eastern region had the highest average weekly sales with $1,689 per store, a 0.2 percent decrease from the previous year. The Central region followed with weekly sales of $1,190 per store, a decrease of 1.5 percent. The West was the lowest-selling region with $865 per store per week, down 3 percent.  As the only region with growth, the South had a weekly sales increase of 3.8 percent from the previous year to $1,052 per store. 

Prepared seafood peaked during late December and early January, when seafood is a popular option for the holidays. The week of Dec. 29, 2012, posted the highest sales of the latest 52-week period, with $1,756 per store (an increase of 5.1 percent from the previous year). The second highest-selling week occurred the week prior to Christmas, with $1,606 per store. The lowest-selling week for prepared seafood also occurred in December; the week of Dec. 1, 2012, posted average sales of $900 per store, down 3.1 percent from the previous year.  

Within prepared seafood, “other” prepared seafood drove growth with a 1.3 percent increase in weekly dollar sales per store. The prepared fish sub-category within “other” prepared seafood was responsible for this growth. Both the meals and surimi-seafood categories experienced dips in average sales compared to the previous year, down 0.7 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively. Surimi seafood experienced decreases in all sub-categories, with imitation crab, lobster and scallops declining in sales from the previous year. Prepared seafood meals had positive growth for its top seller, shrimp meals, but a 10 percent decrease in fish/seafood meals caused the meals category to remain flat overall.

This sales review is provided by the Nielsen Perishables Group. Based in Chicago, Nielsen Perishables Group specializes in retail measurement, analytics, marketing communications, category development, promotional best practices and shopper insights. Reported results are for the 52 weeks ending Feb. 23, 2013. Results were compiled from key U.S. grocery, mass/supercenter and club chains, including 18,000 stores nationwide. For more information, contact Kelli Beckel at the Perishables Group: (773) 929-7013, kelli.beckel@nielsen.com.

Find other SeaFood Business articles featuring prepared seafood here.

June 2013 - SeaFood Business  

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