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Retail Report: Prepared fish adds value to seafood department
Seafood's healthful profile, Lent push category sales up early in the first quarter
July 01, 2007
Prepared fish, including breaded whitefish and smoked
salmon, is the largest subcategory of prepared foods,
accounting for 8 percent of department sales during the 52
weeks between March 2006 and March 2007. Nationally, the
subcategory averaged $421 in weekly dollar sales, a 6 percent
increase from the previous year.
The sales trend indicates that prepared fish gained
popularity early in the year, which is typically when shoppers
tend to seek out healthier foods as part of New Year's
resolutions and increase seafood consumption during Lent. The
subcategory saw a steady increase in average weekly sales
between the weeks ending Dec. 30, 2006, and Feb. 24, 2007
(corresponding to the week of Ash Wednesday), when sales peaked
at $690 per store.
Prepared fish saw its lowest average weekly sales during the
summer months, as popular barbeque grilling items like fish
steaks compete for shoppers' dollars. Average weekly sales
reached an annual low of $333 during the week of July 29,
The Eastern region had the highest average weekly sales with
$659 per store during the 52 weeks ending March 31. This
represented an increase of 8.1 percent compared to 2006. The
Central region showed the highest prepared fish contribution to
the department at 10.1 percent, up almost half a percentage
point from the previous year.
The only region reporting a decrease in average weekly sales
during the 52 weeks ending March 31 was the West region, where
sales fell 1.7 percent from the previous year. Only the Central
and East regions gained subcategory contribution, and the West
saw the largest dip in subcategory contribution, declining by
1.2 percentage points.
Breaded fish, smoked fish and the fish
sticks/nuggets/tenders segment are driving prepared fish sales.
All three segments saw significant sales spikes in January and
February, when the overall subcategory reported its largest
sales gains. Breaded fish generated the largest share of
prepared fish sales with 31.3 percent. Smoked fish captured the
second highest average weekly sales with 22.7 percent, followed
by fish sticks/nuggets/tenders at 22.6 percent, stuffed fish at
11.1 percent and seasoned fish at 8.4 percent. With a fraction
of category dollar share, the smaller segments include
cooked/fried fish, fish cakes/burgers and salted fish.