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Retail Report: Mollusk sales mainly event driven

East Coast consumers eat the most mollusks year-round

August 01, 2006

Shellfish add an upscale flair to any seafood department. In addition to crustaceans, the category includes mollusks: scallops, oysters, clams, mussels, squid, octopus, conch, snails and cuttlefish. Mollusk sales are largely occasion driven and traditionally register sharp peaks during year-end holidays. Nationally, unprepared mollusk sales accounted for an average of 3.8 percent of seafood department dollar sales per week per store during the 52 weeks between June 2005 and May 2006. The category also registered an average of $193 per week per store. The top week for unprepared mollusk sales was the last week in December, with average per week per store sales of $497.

Fall is historically the period of lowest sales for unprepared mollusks, likely due to the end of the summer grilling season. During 52 weeks between June 2005 and May 2006, the last week in October posted the lowest unprepared mollusk sales, averaging $138 per week per store. Unprepared mollusk-category contribution to total seafood-dollar sales was down in the first five months of 2006, compared to 2005.

Regionally, the East captured the greatest unprepared mollusk category contribution to total seafood department sales between June 2005 and May 2006, averaging 6.4 percent per week per store. The East region also posted the greatest category sales of $512 per week per store, more than twice the national average.

Across the United States during the 52 weeks between June 2005 and May 2006, scallops claimed the majority of sales, accounting for an average of 58.2 percent of unprepared mollusk category dollar share per week per store.

Thanksgiving week, oysters captured a whopping 59.2 percent (nearly four times the annual average), as consumers focused on oysters for their holiday celebrations. Clam sales peaked the week of July Fourth 2006, capturing 34.7 percent of unprepared mollusk sales (nearly two times the annual average), as consumers prepared summer clam bakes.

This sales review is provided by the Perishables Group of West Dundee, Ill., an independent consulting firm focused on innovation and creating value for clients in the fresh food industry. Reported results are for Jan. 1, 2004, through May 31, 2006, compiled from more than 16,000 stores nationwide, 
representing 60 percent 
of national supermarket ACV share. Sales data provided by A.C. Nielsen, Schaumburg, Ill. For more information, contact Steve Lutz at (509) 884-2616 or steve@





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