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Retail Report: Now is the time to push soups, chowders, appetizers

Winter months the most popular for seafood side items

soups, salads, stufffings

February 01, 2007

Seafood side items, which consists of seafood salad, soups, appetizers and stuffing, provide important support for main entrees purchased in the seafood or other perishables departments. Nationally, side products averaged 1 percent of total seafood-department sales during the 52-weeks ending Nov. 4, 2006.

Seafood side items differ greatly by season and by region. Average total U.S. seafood side-item dollar sales registered at an average of $46 per week per store, which is down from $49 from the same timeframe the previous year. Now is the perfect time to focus sales on side items: Historically, sales of chowders, appetizers and stuffing are highest during the winter months. Nationwide in the 52-week timeframe, the category peaked during the Christmas week in 2005, at an average of $71 per store. The consecutive weeks of the Super Bowl and Valentine's Day in 2006 were also elevated, both weeks registering an average of $54 per store.

Conversely, seafood side-item sales struggle in the weeks immediately following holidays and eating occasions, and thus the lowest week during the timeframe for seafood side item sales was the week after Easter in 2006, with average store sales of $41.

On a regional basis, during the 52-week period the East topped seafood side-item sales with weekly contribution to total seafood-department sales averaging 1.6 percent per store, down 0.2 percentage points from the previous year. East region dollar sales for seafood side items were $123 per week per store, down from $136 the previous year, but still nearly three times the national average.

By comparison, seafood side-item contribution to total seafood sales was 0.4 percent for the West region, with weekly dollar sales averaging $17 per store. Weekly average dollar sales rose in the Central and South regions by $1 per week, but fell in all other regions compared to last year. Seafood salads led the side item category with 70.2 percent of sales, followed by soups at 13.6 percent, appetizers at 10.3 percent, other sides at 3.2 percent and stuffing at 2.6 percent. Seafood salads captured their greatest annual dollar share of seafood side items the first week in August 2006 at the peak of the picnic season, with an average of 79.9 percent of seafood side item sales, exceeding the annual average by 10 percent. Seafood appetizers peaked near the New Year's holiday in 2006, averaging a 21.9 percent dollar share, more than double its annual average. As expected, seafood stuffing captured its greatest category share during the Christmas week in 2005 with an average of 6.1 percent of 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 Nov. 13, 2004, through Nov. 4, 2006, compiled from more than 16,000 stores nationwide, representing 60 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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