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Retail Report: A regional favorite

Scallop sales up only slightly from 2008 numbers


November 01, 2009

Scallops are a popular seafood menu item and retail product because of their soft texture and delicate, mild flavor.

Prices in recent years have been favorable for buyers due to an abundance of fresh sea scallops on the market. The Atlantic fishery produced a bumper crop of sea scallops last year, and harvests exceeded 50 million pounds. The meats were large, which made prices soften last year.

Sold fresh in the seafood department, the mollusk contributed 3 percent to seafood department sales during the 52 weeks ending July 25.

Scallops are the leading molluscan species, 
accounting for a 61 
percent dollar share of the department category in U.S. supermarkets. Nationwide, weekly sales of scallops averaged $175 per store, up 1.7 percent from the prior year. The highest average scallop sales were in the East region at $441 per store, up 5.5 percent from the prior year. The East also had the highest contribution (4.4 percent) to the seafood department compared to other regions. The Central region had the largest increase in average weekly scallop sales from the prior year, up 10.3 percent to $119 per store. The South had the largest average dollar sales decline of 3.9 percent to $117 per store. Finally, the West region had the lowest scallop sales per store at $114, down 2.6 percent from the prior year. The Central, South and West regions all had the same dollar contribution to the seafood department of 2.3 percent.

This was the only mollusk subcategory to decline in average retail pricing during the period. As oyster (the second largest mollusk group in the department) pricing increased in the East, Central and South regions, scallop prices dropped.

Fresh sea scallops and bay scallops are in season from October to March, averaging $8.76 per pound. Average retail price peaked the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Scallop sales peaked the week of Christmas at $325 per store, an increase of 9.6 percent from the prior year. Sales were also high the week of Fourth of July at $218 per store. Scallop sales were lowest during the week of Oct. 25, 2008, at $124 per store, down 13.5 percent from the prior year.


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