Do a Post-Mortem on Lent Sales

For many Americans, Easter ranks right up there with Christmas as a popular holiday to head home to spend time with family and enjoy good food. Yesterday's holiday marked the end of Lent, the period in which seafood-related businesses typically make a significant portion of their annual sales. But with the economy leaning toward a recession, did consumers actually turn to fish on Fridays and include seafood in their holiday meal this year?

Now is the time to take stock of your sales compared to last year: If your sales were down, do you attribute it to a slowing economy, poor product assortment, or is there another reason? Companies whose sales are off may have to revaluate the rest of 2008 and consider adjusting their sales plan.

A few years ago I wrote about seafood businesses being on the "bleeding edge of technology" vs. the "cutting edge." Some companies continue to operate on the "bleeding edge" because they don't take the time to break down their product costs by using the latest technology available on the market. Many seafood operations continue to be bogged down by hidden costs (increased drip loss or packaging costs, to name a few) that, once added up, can be the death knell in a recession. Sure, investing in the latest technology costs money, but if in the long run it winds up saving your business, it's a worthy expense.

As you reflect on sales from the past month, drop me an e-mail briefly describing your company's Lent sales: Are you up, down or even compared to 2007? We'll share your feedback with other readers, who are eager to hear how the seafood business fared.

Thank you,
Fiona Robinson
Editor in Chief
SeaFood Business


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