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Retail Report: Farmed East, wild West

Subcategory represents 36.5 percent of finfish dollar share

September 01, 2009

Salmon has become a popular meal selection as consumers continue to shift their eating habits to healthier options. It can be prepared in a number of ways and is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is the largest subcategory in the supermarket seafood department finfish category, and the species had a strong performance during the latest 52-week period at both a national and regional level. The salmon subcategory represented 36.5 percent of finfish dollar share, and has been a key driver in overall finfish category growth.

Nationally, weekly finfish sales averaged $2,041 per store during the 52 weeks ending May 30, a 4.3 percent increase from the previous year. Also increasing from the prior year, salmon weekly sales averaged $746 per store, up 3.7 percent from the previous year, making salmon the leader in the finfish category.

The peak season for salmon occurs during the spring and summer months, with average weekly sales peaking during the week ending July 5, 2008, at $924 per store. There was also a spike the week of Good Friday.

Average weekly salmon sales were up in all four U.S. regions. The East region ranked first with $1,092 per store, which was one-third more than the national average. The South region had the lowest average weekly sales among the four regions at $534 per store.

The West and Central regions outpaced total U.S. sales in salmon contribution to the seafood department, contributing 18.7 percent and 13.4 percent, respectively, versus the 13.1 percent contribution of the total U.S. during the 52 weeks ending May 30. Salmon contribution to total seafood in the East region was 12 percent, followed by the South region with a 10.5 percent contribution.

While salmon fillets comprise the greatest salmon dollar share in each region, whole salmon sales are strongest in the West region, and salmon steak, tips and portions have greater dollar shares in the East region. More than half the salmon dollars (with available origin coding) in the Central and West regions are attributed to Atlantic salmon, and more than 20 percentage of West region salmon dollar share is from sockeye.

Fresh category suppliers and retailers have the opportunity to demonstrate category leadership by identifying changes in assortment strategy that will translate into better category and brand performance. Discontinuing low-performing items or eliminating gaps/duplication in assortment at a regional, market or account level can lead to improved space utilization and efficiency, and thus enhance overall category success.


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