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Retail Report: Crab, lobster anchor sales

Category lift driven by promotional pricing

December 01, 2010

The seafood department at traditional grocery stores continues to grow, driven in part by the crustaceans category, which drove the 2.9 percent dollar increase for the department. Nationally, crustaceans (crab, lobster, crabmeat and crawfish) accounted for 13.3 percent of total seafood sales, making it the third-largest contributor to dollar sales for the department. With the exception of 2008, sales for crustaceans have continued to increase year-over-year since 2005.

National average weekly crustacean sales increased $59 per store to $830 during the 52-week period ending Aug. 28, up 7.6 percent compared to the previous year. Crustacean sales were dominated by crab, which contributed 55.9 percent to dollar sales and showed dollar growth of 7.6 percent compared to the prior year. Lobster was the second-largest species, contributing 29.2 percent of crustacean sales and increasing 4.9 percent compared to last year. Crabmeat accounted for 13.4 percent of 
the crustacean category's dollar share, 
 while other crustaceans made up the remaining 
 1.5 percent.

Crustacean weekly sales peaked at $2,148 per store the week of New Year's . Sales for the week were up 5.4 percent compared to last year, while Christmas sales rose 10.9 percent. Crustacean sales during the week prior to Valentine's Day were up 25.5 percent compared to the prior year, while sales the week of the holiday were up 28.1 percent. Weekly crustacean sales were consistently higher than a year ago from September 2009 through the end of February 2010; the sales increases during these weeks were mainly driven by crab and lobster, which both showed declines in pricing and increased promotions compared to the prior year.

The decline in both promotional and non-promotional retail prices across a majority of the regions drove total volume growth for the category, as the average crustacean consumer is motivated by lower prices. Nearly half of the category's volume was purchased while on promotion both this year and last year across all regions. The national average dollar lift 
for crustaceans on 
promotion was 228.3 percent for the 52 weeks ending Aug. 28, 2010, down slightly from the prior year.


This sales review is provided by The Perishables Group 
of Chicago, an independent consulting firm focused on creating innovation and value for clients in the 
fresh food industry. Reported results are 
for the 52 weeks ending Aug. 28, 2010. Results were compiled from grocery stores nationwide, representing 63 percent of national supermarket ACV share. Sales data provided by Perishables Group FreshFacts SRTm powered 
by Nielsen.

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