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Retail Report: Crustaceans are seafood counter king

Lion's share of shellfish sales attributed to lobster, shrimp, crab, crawfish


June 01, 2008

Shellfish is the largest category in the seafood department, accounting for 46.9 percent of seafood department sales during the 52 weeks ending on Feb. 23. The majority of shellfish sales come from crustaceans - shrimp, crabs, crawfish/crayfish and lobsters - which contribute an average 42.1 percent of seafood department sales. That figure is down 0.4 percent compared to the same time the previous year.

Nationally, the crustacean category averaged $2,343 in weekly sales per store for the reporting period; this is up from $2,316 per week during the same period the previous year.

Peak season for crustacean sales is November through January, coinciding with the year-end holidays; the category also has strong sales during the summer grilling season. In 2007, the first week in January registered the top sales, averaging $4,899 per store, up from $4,526 for the same period the previous year. That was more than double the national weekly average of $2,343 for the period.

The South had the greatest crustacean category contribution to total seafood department sales during the 52 weeks ending Feb. 23 with 44.3 percent, while posting the second highest weekly dollars sales at $2,146 per store.

In the East, weekly crustacean sales averaged $3,526 per store - 1.6 times more than in the South; however, sales in the region only represented 40.5 percent of total seafood department dollars. In fact, crustacean contribution to total seafood sales declined in all regions except the South. The East and West declined in weekly sales per store versus the same period the previous year; while the Central region had the lowest category contribution to total seafood department sales at 39.3 percent.

Looking at the species within the crustacean category, shrimp accounted for an average of 69.5 percent of category dollar share followed by crab at 24.5 percent, lobster at 5.6 percent and crawfish/crayfish at 0.4 percent.

Sales of crab, shrimp and lobster peaked during the week of New Year's Eve in 2007, at approximately $1,235, $2,891 and $548, respectively, which is more than double the annual weekly dollar average for those sub-categories. Crawfish/crayfish dollar sales peaked in April/May, which is peak domestic production season.


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 Feb. 23, 2007 through Feb. 23, 2008, compiled from grocery stores nationwide, representing 62.8 percent of national supermarket ACV (all commodity volume) 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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