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Retail Report: Consistent cod

Cod's sales growth outpaces overall seafood department growth

cod - Photo courtesy of ASMI

September 01, 2008

The almighty cod is viewed by many as the quintessential American fish. Harvested from both the Pacific and Atlantic, cod is the eighth most popular fish in the United States, according to the National Fisheries Institute's per-capita consumption list (see Newsline, p. 8). When it comes to supermarket sales, cod is the fifth largest sub-category within the finfish category, accounting for 5 percent of finfish dollar sales during the 52 weeks ending May 31, and contributing 1.8 percent to total seafood department sales.

Nationally, weekly cod sales averaged $99 per store, a 7.5 percent increase from the previous year. Cod sales grew faster than the overall seafood department, which saw year-over-year growth of 3.5 percent.

Cod sales peak January through the beginning of April due to supply. Cod sales were the highest during the week of March 1 at $148 per store. Consumer demand for cod rises in the spring, due to holidays such as Mardi Gras, the Lenten period, St. Patrick's Day and Easter. Cod sales reach a low point in both June and November, due to seasonality and year-end holidays, respectively.

Weekly cod sales in the East and Central regions both surpassed the national average per store. The Eastern region had the highest average weekly sales at $232 per store, more than double the national average. The Central region sold $119 per store, only slightly higher than the total U.S. average of $99 per week per store. The South averaged the lowest weekly cod sales, with $49 per store, followed by 
the West with $83 per store. The East contributed the most to overall 
seafood department sales with 2.7 percent.

Both the South and Central regions present opportunities for cod. The Central region had a 14 percent increase in weekly sales per store compared to a year ago, while the South saw 10 percent growth over the previous year.

Nationally, cod accounted for 5 percent of finfish sales behind salmon, tilapia, catfish and other fresh fish. Salmon accounted for a significant portion of weekly finfish sales with 36.8 percent contribution, followed by tilapia, catfish and other fresh fish with 15.7, 10.6 and 9 percent, respectively.


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