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Retail Report: Catfish sales increase 6.4 percent

Central, South drive demand for the whiskered finfish

June 01, 2009

While catfish has never had the cachet in the seafood display case that other 
fish such as salmon or swordfish have had, the finfish is gaining popularity as a less expensive whitefish that is high in vitamin D. Catfish sold in the fresh seafood department contributed 4 percent to seafood department sales during the 52 weeks ending Feb. 28, 2009. ( Editor's note : Perishables Group FreshFacts® data does not capture whether the product is domestic or imported.) Catfish had an 11.1 percent dollar share of the finfish category, 
the third largest sub-category following salmon and tilapia.

Nationally, weekly catfish sales averaged $220 per store, up 6.4 percent from the prior year. All regions increased in catfish weekly sales since the previous year.

It's no surprise that the strongest sales are in Central and South regions, where catfish is the perennial favorite fish. The Central region had the highest weekly sales, with an average of $298 per store and the highest contribution to the seafood department at 5.8 percent. However, the Central region also had the smallest growth in catfish sales at 4.3 percent. The South followed the Central region with $268 in average weekly store sales and 5.5 percent dollar contribution to total seafood. The South increased 4.6 percent in dollar sales.

The West sold an average of $156 of catfish per store per week, up 7.7 percent since the prior year, with an average 3.3 percent contribution to department. Finally, average weekly sales in the East region was $129 per store, with the largest growth from prior year at 20.5 percent but the lowest contribution of 1.4 percent to the department.

Weekly catfish sales peaked in February at $292 per store, an increase of 19 percent from the prior year, a result of consumers turning to seafood at the beginning of Lent. Weekly sales were also high the week of St. Patrick's Day in 2008 at $275 per store, and after the New Year's holiday at $268 per store.


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