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Retail Report - Year-end drives department

Finfish accounts for 30 percent of holiday sales


September 01, 2013

The winter holiday season is often the most important time of year for many fresh categories that answer special meal occasion needs. The seafood department earned 17 percent of its annual sales from the nine weeks in the 2012 winter holiday season (week ending Nov. 3 through Dec. 29).  

Total seafood sales remained steady during the 2012 winter holidays compared to the prior year, earning weekly sales of $6,516 per store. The Eastern region had the highest holiday weekly seafood sales, yet had the greatest decline from the prior year, down 6.1 percent to $10,251 per store. Only the South increased weekly holiday sales from the prior year, up 4.6 percent to $6,180 per store. The Western region had the lowest average weekly seafood sales at $4,892 per store, which was down 1.8 percent from the 2011 holidays. The Central region earned $6,074 on average, a decline of 2.4 percent from the prior year.

Fresh seafood, the largest department category, contributed 77.6 percent to total seafood dollars during the 2012 winter holidays. Nationally, fresh seafood earned $5,055 per store per week during this period, 1.1 percent more than the prior year. Both the South and West increased average sales from the prior year, while the Central region maintained sales and the East declined 5.9 percent.  

As the top-selling fresh seafood category, finfish accounted for 30.2 percent of seafood department dollars during the holiday season. Finfish earned an average of $2,011 per store per week, up 1.9 percent from the prior year. Shrimp and crustaceans each gained in dollar sales from the prior year. Mollusks was the only fresh seafood category to lose sales during the 2012 winter holidays compared to the previous year.

Prepared seafood, which includes meals, platters, value-added seafood and surimi seafood, accounted for 18.7 percent of department dollar sales during the 2012 winter holidays. Across all regions, average prepared seafood sales declined from the prior year. Nationally, weekly prepared seafood sales earned an average of $1,221 per store, down 6 percent from the prior year. The Western region had the greatest decline in average sales, down 12.7 percent to earn the lowest average sales, $989. 

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 Nov. 3 through Dec. 29, 2012. 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.

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