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Retail Report: Lenten season drives fish sales

Salmon, tilapia, catfish dominate category

fresh fish

February 01, 2008

Finfish is the second largest category in the seafood department behind shellfish, accounting for 35.2 percent of seafood-department sales during the 52 weeks ending Sept. 29. The category includes 
species such as salmon, tuna and tilapia. National finfish sales averaged $1,894 per store per 
week, a 9.3 percent increase from the previous year. The category growth outpaced total seafood department growth by 1.8 percentage points.

Finfish saw above-average sales throughout March and peaked Easter week at $2,347 in average per-store sales. Lent ran from Feb. 21 to April 8 last year. Finfish sales had the lowest average weekly sales performance during November and December when other proteins such as turkey and ham are traditionally served at holiday gatherings. During the 52 weeks ending Sept. 29, average weekly sales reached an annual low of $1,228 per store during Thanksgiving week.

The Eastern region had the highest average weekly sales with $2,856 per store, well above the national average. Finfish contribution was highest in the Central region at 37.9 percent.

Average weekly sales and category contribution to the seafood department grew in all regions compared to the previous year. Finfish sales grew the most in the West, increasing by 11.1 percent. The South represents the greatest opportunity for finfish. While the region ranked last in average weekly sales and contribution, it saw a 10.9 percent increase in category dollar sales, slightly behind the West.

Nationally, salmon accounted for 36.7 percent of total finfish sales during the 52 weeks ending Sept. 29, followed by tilapia at 15.2 percent, catfish at 10.7 percent and the "other fresh fish" subcategory at 9.4 percent. With a fraction of category dollar share, the smaller subcategories included cod/scrod at 5 percent of average weekly sales, tuna at 3.8 percent, haddock at 3.7 percent, flounder at 2.9 percent and swordfish and halibut at 2.3 percent each. Collectively, whiting, roughy, trout, snapper and perch accounted for 8.2 percent of average weekly sales.


This sales review is provided by the Perishables Group of West Dundee, Ill., an independent consulting firm focused on innnovation and creating value for clients in the fresh food industry. Reported results are for Sept. 30, 2006, through Sept. 29, 2007, representing 63.5 percent of national supermarket ACV share. Sales data provided by Perishables Group's 
FreshFacts®, powered by A.C. Nielsen. For more information, contact Steve Lutz at (509) 884-2616 or steve@perishablesgroup.com



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