« May 2009 Table of Contents
Retail Report: Clam sales on slight upswing
Demand for bivalve remains strongest in East region
May 01, 2009
Clams are either harvested in the wild or farmed and can be
prepared in a variety of ways. Whatever your preference, no
doubt you've either heard of or tried a bowl of New England
clam chowder, the mollusk's most popular dish.
Clams were the second largest subcategory in the mollusk
category, accounting for 0.8 percent of seafood department
sales during the 52 weeks ending Jan. 31. Mollusks, the
smallest product category in the fresh seafood department, also
include scallops, oysters, mussels, octopus/squid and snails.
Scallops are the largest contributor in the mollusks category,
with 3 percent of department sales.
Nationally, weekly mollusk sales averaged $278 per store, a
7.3 percent increase from 2007. Clams, including littlenecks,
cherrystones and topnecks, averaged $43 per store per week, a
2.6 percent increase from the previous year, making clams third
in sales in the mollusk category.
The peak harvest season for clams is in the summer months,
which fuels outdoor eating occasions like clambakes. In 2008,
clam sales were elevated above the annual average from May 17
through Sept. 9, peaking the week ending July 5 at $116 in
average per-store sales, nearly three times the national
average. The weeks ending Sept. 6 and Dec. 27, including Labor
Day and Christmas, posted the second- and third-highest average
weekly sales with $81 and $86, respectively. Clams had the
lowest average weekly sales performance in the two weeks
leading up to Christmas, with $25 in average weekly sales.
Average weekly dollar sales for clams were up in the East
(3.1 percent), South (4.1 percent) and West (6.6 percent)
regions compared to the prior year. Clam sales tanked in the
South, which saw a 24.4 percent decrease. The East region
ranked first in weekly dollar sales per store at $184, more
than four times the national average. The East also outpaced
the national dollar contribution to the seafood department,
contributing 2 percent versus the 0.8 percent contribution of
the total United States. Rounding out the regional
contributions were the Central, South and West where clams
contributed between 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent each to total
seafood department sales.