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Retail Report: Super markets

Second-quarter results positive, growth seen in higher prices, dollar sales


October 01, 2013

The seafood department is slowly beginning to show signs of recovery from the economic downturn that wreaked havoc on sales in previous years. The East and South continue to drive department sales growth, and many categories are growing at increasing rates, with overall strong growth in the second quarter of 2013 after a solid year in 2012. 

During Q2 2013, weekly seafood dollars per store increased 1.2 percent nationally to an average of $6,728, driven by growth in the South. The department maintained volume sales from the previous year, and average retail prices increased 1.8 percent. The seafood department accounted for 4.6 percent of total perishable dollar sales and 1.8 percent of volume sales, unchanged from the same quarter a year prior.

The Southern region’s dollar growth surpassed national growth, up 2.5 percent compared to the previous year, reaching average weekly sales of $6,874 per store for the quarter. The Central region had more modest dollar growth and average sales, up 0.7 percent to $5,531 per store per week. Both the Southern and Central regions maintained volume growth from the previous year. At $9,708 per store per week, the Eastern region posted the highest sales for seafood, but this was a 1.5 percent decrease from the previous year. Volume also decreased 2.7 percent in the East. The West had the lowest weekly sales at $5,297 per store, but had the second-highest growth rate, up 1.9 percent. 

Fresh seafood was the chief driver of department sales across all regions and maintained seafood dollar and volume share compared to the previous year. Fresh seafood accounted for 80.3 percent of department dollar sales and 75.6 percent of department volume nationally. Prepared seafood also maintained steady sales compared to the previous year, accounting for 16.1 percent of dollars and 17.8 percent of volume department sales.  Other seafood (which consists of sides, dips, seasonings, etc.) brought in 3.6 percent of department dollar sales and 6.5 percent of volume sales.   

Overall, prices in the seafood department increased 1.8 percent versus Q2 2012.  The price increase was driven by other seafood (largely seafood side items), up 2.8 percent, but fresh seafood prices also increased 1.9 percent, driven by higher  shrimp and other shellfish prices. Regionally, price increases were led by the South (up 2 percent) and West (up 2.7 percent).  

One of the most dominant categories within seafood is finfish, which accounted for 49.6 percent of fresh seafood dollar sales during Q2 2013, an increase of 2.5 percent to $2,679 per store per week. The category accounted for 58.1 percent of fresh seafood volume sold, up 1.5 points versus the previous year, to 480 pounds per store per week. Average retail price was steady versus the previous year at $5.58 per pound. U.S. finfish sales were dominated by salmon and tilapia in terms of both dollars and volume. Salmon posted the highest sales, an average of $1,030 per store per week, however, tilapia sales growth outpaced salmon growth, up 3.2 percent to $660 per store per week. Tuna sales, while only posting $63 per store per week, increased 18.3 percent versus the previous year.  Additionally, average dollar sales for trout and halibut both grew by double digits during Q2 2013. Weekly trout sales increased 21.9 percent to $51 per store, while halibut increased 17.5 percent to $42 per store. 

Regionally, finfish brought in $3,752 per store per week in the East, compared to $2,612 in the South, $2,395 in the Central region and $2,269 in the West. The timing of finfish purchases varied across regions. In the East, Q2 finfish sales peaked during the week ending June 8, with $4,178 per store. Sales were lowest during the week of April 6 (following Easter), at $3,435 per store. In the Central region, sales peaked the week of May 11, at $2,597 per store, and were lowest the week after Memorial Day at $2,281 per store. Southern region sales peaked the week of June 15 at $2,808 per store, with the lowest sales ($2,394 per store) occurring just two weeks earlier, the week after Memorial Day. The West followed the same pattern, with a sales low of $2,336 per store the week after Memorial Day.

Shrimp had the second-highest contribution to fresh seafood behind finfish, accounting for 33.7 percent of fresh seafood dollar sales nationally. During Q2 2013, shrimp posted an average $1,820 per store per week, steady compared to the previous year, while volume per store per week decreased 2.6 percent.  Average retail price for shrimp increased 2.3 percent during this time, likely contributing to the volume decline. The majority of category sales came from raw shrimp, which posted $988 per store per week, up 2.9 percent from $960 the previous year. Cooked shrimp decreased in average weekly sales, down 4 percent to $832 per store per week. Regionally, the East averaged $2,363 per store per week, down 4.3 percent. Shrimp sales in the South remained steady compared to the previous year, at $1,962 per store per week. Central region sales increased 1.1 percent to $1,383 per store per week, while the Western region had the category’s highest growth, up 3.3 percent to $1,513.

U.S. shrimp sales peaked the week of June 1, at $261 per store per week.  The lowest sales occurred the week of April 27, with $208 per store per week. In the Eastern region, the highest sales also occurred the week ending June 1, at $824 per store per week. The Central and Southern regions both peaked in sales the week of May 18, at $129 and $200 per store per week, respectively. The lowest sales for both regions came the week of June 29 at $103 per store per week in the Central region and $162 per store per week in the South. In the Western region, weekly sales peaked at $150 per store during the week ending May 11, and were at their lowest during the week ending April 27, at $130 per store.

Prepared seafood accounted for 16.1 percent of seafood department dollar sales, steady compared to Q2 2012. Average weekly sales also remained steady at $1,081 per store. “Other prepared seafood,” which includes prepared fish, crustaceans and mollusks, contributed $927 per store per week during Q2 2013, down 0.2 percent from the previous year. Prepared fish increased 4.5 percent to $426 per store per week, however prepared crustaceans decreased 5.4 percent to $326 per store per week. Prepared seafood platters, however, increased 1.1 percent to $94 per store per week.  

Other seafood contributed 3.6 percent to seafood department dollar sales, with items like dips, soups, salads, sides and seasonings. Weekly sales for the subcategory increased 2.6 percent to $241 per store per week. Sales were highest in the East and South at $290 and $306 per store per week, respectively, while the Central and Western regions posted lower weekly averages of $146 and $162 per store. The East and South increased sales by 5.2 percent and 5 percent, respectively, while the Western and Central regions’ sales both declined. Growth in other seafood was largely driven by seafood side items, which includes items such as stuffing, soups, appetizers and salads. Seafood side items increased 3.3 percent versus Q2 2012, to $81 per store per week. Seafood dips and spreads also increased 3.5 percent to $30 per store per week.

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 April 6, 2013, through June 29, 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.


  September 2013 - SeaFood Business 

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