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Prepared-mollusk retail category up 23.8 percent

Ready-to-cook, ready-to-eat items popular during year-end holidays

prepared mollusks

October 01, 2007

Breaded scallops and stuffed clams comprise the majority of prepared-mollusk sales, which produces a brisk business before, during and after the year-end holidays. Prepared mollusks is a relatively small subcategory of the prepared-seafood section of retail seafood departments, and accounted for less than 1 percent of total department sales during the 52 weeks ending June 30. However, average weekly sales for the subcategory did increase, averaging $30, a 23.8 percent jump from the previous year.

With higher-priced items such as stuffed clams and breaded sea scallops, prepared mollusks are most commonly purchased for special occasions such as holiday parties. As a result, sales for the subcategory enjoyed a steady climb beginning in early December (week ending Dec. 2, 2006) and peaked Christmas week with $72 in average weekly sales.

Average prepared-mollusk sales began to decline in mid-April and continued to drop throughout the summer and early fall during the 52 weeks ending June 30. The subcategory reached annual lows of $19 per week per store during the weeks ending Sept. 23 and Sept. 30, 2006.

All regions reported an increase in average weekly sales during the reporting period. The East had the highest average weekly sales, with $91 per store, an increase of 9.3 percent compared to the previous year. Averaging $15 per week per store, the Central region showed strongest growth, up 62.7 percent compared to a year ago.

Nationally, prepared clams held the largest share of prepared-mollusk sales at 41.6 percent. Prepared scallops captured the second highest average weekly sales at 33.7 percent, followed by prepared mussels at 18.2 percent, prepared octopus at 5.7 percent and prepared oysters at 0.8 percent.

Although prepared clams claimed the highest average weekly sales for the year-ending June 30, prepared scallops drove sales during the holiday season when the subcategory had peak sales. Prepared scallops led prepared mollusk sales during Christmas week, averaging $222 per store.

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