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Retail Report: Catfish sales up 10 percent

Three southern markets boost demand for the whiskered finfish

catfish - Photo courtesy The Catfish Institute

February 01, 2010

Traditional grocery store seafood departments exhibited growth as consumers strove to replicate restaurant-quality and healthful meals at home in 2009. Fresh seafood had the greatest increases, driven by finfish sales. At 11.1 percent dollar share, catfish was the third-largest finfish subcategory, following salmon and tilapia, and contributed 3.9 percent to dollar sales in the 
52 weeks ending Oct. 31, 2009.

Nationally, weekly catfish sales averaged $238 per store, up 10.3 percent from the prior year. The highest average weekly catfish sales were in the Central region at $320 per store, exhibiting a 9.9 percent increase from the prior year. The Central region also had the highest dollar contribution (6 percent) to the seafood department, compared to other regions. Also strong was the South, which had the second-highest average sales per store at $285, up 7.6 percent, and contributed 5.4 percent to department dollars.

The top three U.S. markets for catfish dollar contribution to total seafood sales were in the South: Memphis with 28.2 percent, Dallas with 14.4 percent and Houston with 10.5 percent.

The West had the largest increase in catfish's average weekly store sales from the prior year, up 21.5 percent to $181 per store. Catfish contributed 3.6 percent to seafood-department dollars in the West. Finally, the East had the lowest weekly dollars per store at $144, up 6.2 percent from the prior year. That region also had the lowest dollar contribution to department at 1.4 percent.

Consistent with the year before, catfish sales peaked the week of Ash Wednesday, which fell during the week of March 7, 2009. Catfish sales were also high the week of Easter (April 11, 2009) at $300 per store and the week of Jan. 10, at $267 per store. The lowest average catfish sales were during the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, year-over-year catfish sales were higher in the 52 weeks ending Oct. 31, 2009, compared to the prior year (with the exception of the Ash Wednesday weeks, which fell at different times between the two years).


This sales review is provided by the Perishables Group, Inc. (PG), Chicago, Illinois, an independent consulting firm focused on innovation and creating value for clients in the fresh food indusry. Reported results are for Nov. 8, 2008, through Oct. 31, 2009, compiled from grocery stores nationwide, representing 63.6 percent of national supermarket ACV share. Sales data provided by Perishales Group FreshFacts®, powered by Nielsen. For more information, contact Kelli Beckel; phone: (773) 929-7013; e-mail: kellib@perishablesgroup.com


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