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Retail Report: Fresh finfish sales increase 7.5 percent

Retail finfish growth mirrors overall department growth

May 01, 2007

Finfish species such as salmon, tilapia and catfish are the backbone of any retail seafood department. The second largest retail category behind shellfish, finfish accounted for 33.5 percent of category dollar sales during the 52 weeks between January 2006 and January 2007.

Nationally, the category averaged $1,734 per week per store, a 7.5 percent 
increase from the previous year. However, because category growth mirrored total department growth, which saw a 7.4 percent increase compared to the previous year, finfish's contribution to the overall seafood department remained the same.

The category saw above-average sales throughout the month of March and into the first half of April. Dollar sales peaked during the week of March 4 with $2,139 average weekly sales per week per store. This sales spike coincides with the Lenten season.

Finfish sales had the lowest average weekly dollar sales performance during the fourth quarter holiday months. Average weekly dollar sales hit a low of $1,323 per week per store during the week of Dec. 2, 2006.

All regions experienced an increase in average weekly dollar sales compared to the previous year. The East had the highest average weekly dollar sales with $2,771 per week per store, well above national dollar sales. The Central region showed the highest category contribution to the seafood department, with 35.8 percent of sales, followed closely by the West region at 35.6 percent.

The South presents the greatest opportunity for the finfish category, reporting the lowest average weekly dollar sales with $1,357 per week per store. The region also saw the lowest category contribution percentage, accounting for 31.9 percent of overall department sales.

Nationally, salmon accounted for 36.3 percent of finfish sales during the 52 weeks, followed by tilapia at 13.6 percent, catfish at 10.8 percent and the "other fresh fish" subcategory at 9.8 percent (The top items in this subcategory are 
herring, grouper, mahimahi, ono/wahoo, opah/moonfish, pollock, sole and rockfish).

With a fraction of category dollar share, the smaller subcategories, including cod/scrod, haddock, tuna, flounder, swordfish and halibut, reported 5.4 percent, 4.2 percent, 3.4 percent, 3.3 percent, 2.6 percent and 2.3 percent of average weekly dollar sales, respectively. Collectively, whiting, roughy, trout, snapper and perch accounted for 8.2 percent of average weekly dollar sales.


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