US retailers begin end-of-year push

Published on
December 19, 2012

Editor's note: SeafoodSource will not be publishing on 24 or 25 December, in observance of Christmas.

 ‘Tis the season to be jolly, and profit from fresh seafood sales. Many U.S. retailers are doing just that with special seafood promotions during the last two weeks of the year

“It’s our biggest two retail weeks of the year. Even our smaller retailers in the mountains do huge promotions and huge volumes of fish,” said Harry Mahlers, director of purchasing for Seattle Fish Co. of Denver.

The week before Christmas, Whole Foods Market stores in the Colorado area are featuring gulf wild grouper for USD 12 (EUR 9.07) a pound (whole or filleted), along with Scottish salmon fillets for USD 8.99 (EUR 6.80) a pound and U.S. swordfish large loin for USD 17.99 (EUR 13.61) a pound. Since shellfish is popular during the holidays, Whole Foods is also promoting Cape Cod littleneck clams for USD 6.99 (EUR 5.29) a pound, USD 0.99 (EUR 0.75) each for West Coast oysters, and USD 8.99 (EUR 6.80) per 2-pound bag for mussels.

“We do record sales for on all the shellfish this time of year,” Mahlers said.

King Soopers is running a variety of seafood specials during the week before Christmas, including fresh Atlantic salmon fillets for USD 5.99 (EUR 4.53) a pound, frozen wild scallops for USD 16.99 (EUR 12.85) a pound, fresh shucked oysters for USD 17.99 per half gallon, and 51-60 count Kroger brand cooked, frozen cocktail shrimp for USD 5.99 a pound.

Seafood sales are also booming at stores in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

“75 percent of the crab we sell each year is sold from December through New Year’s. Shrimp is huge at holiday time, and our fresh oyster sales triple at this time of year,” said Kenan Judge, assistant vice president of meat and seafood operations for Hy-Vee Inc. in Des Moines, Iowa.

As a result, Hy-Vee purchased 200,000 pounds of Alaskan king crab legs and snow crabs earlier this month through Trident Seafoods.  It is retailing king crab legs for USD 11.99 (EUR 9.07) a pound for 20-24 count and USD 21.99 (EUR 16.63) a pound for jumbos.

In addition, Hy-Vee landed two truckloads of Louisiana gulf wild brown shrimp in December, and is retailing the shellfish for USD 8.99 a pound. Hy-Vee also features six shrimp recipes on the front page of its web site.

Contributing Editor

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