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Fresh fish sales ahead of 2005

Retailers' challenge is to extend spring-to-summer spike throughout year

June 01, 2006

Fresh fish is the second-leading category contributor to total seafood-department dollar sales, behind shellfish. Looking across the total U.S. at the 52 weeks ending March 31, 2006, the fresh fish category averaged $1,558 in sales per week per store, up from an average of $1,488 per week per store during the same time period the previous year. Nationally, the average fresh-fish-category contribution to seafood-department sales registered 31.6 percent per week per store during the 52 weeks ending March 31, 2006, up slightly (0.1 percent) from last year. The Central region captured the greatest fresh-fish-category contribution to total seafood-department sales during the 52 weeks ending March 31, 2006, averaging 34.8 percent per week per store.

The East posted the greatest average category sales of $2,408 per week per store, up slightly from $2,347 during the same period the previous year.

Peak season for fresh fish is historically marked by Ash Wednesday and remains strong throughout spring and into the summer grilling season. In 2006, the first two weeks of March, the start of Lent, were the top weeks for category sales nationally, averaging $2,041 and $2,044 per week per store, respectively.

Not surprisingly, fresh fish sales plummeted to a low during Thanksgiving week in 2005, averaging only $1,062 per week per store. Retailers can extend summer fish sales into fall and winter by showcasing fish in hearty cold-weather recipes, such as stews, or with winter vegetables.

Across the U.S., sal­mon accounted for an average of 36.6 percent of fresh-fish-category dollar share per week per store. During the week of July 4, 43.8 percent of fresh fish category sales came from salmon, 6 percentage points above the 52-week average.

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