Monday, December 22, 2008

You can't shrink your way to prosperity

I mentioned last week that Steve Lutz and I visited about October retail numbers in the produce department. Steve shared that overall produce sales in October (4 weeks ending Oct. 25, precisely) were up 3.8% in volume but off 4.8% in volume compared with year ago numbers.

Among the laggards: Specialty fruit were off 12.9% in dollars and 30.1% in volume compared to a year ago, while tomatoes were off 9.9% in dollars and 12.7% in volume compared with a year ago. Grapes, pears, melons, carrots and citrus all were among the items down both in dollar sales and volume for the four week period. Amazingly, higher prices for bananas and potatoes allowed dollar sales to climb by 19% and 28%, respectively, despite volume decreases of 3.2% and 0.9%.

Look for some coverage in
The Packer about produce department retail trends and how much of this performance is related to the economy versus supply and demand conditions.

By the way, we added a member to our Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group (and about five to the companion group) over the weekend, and there is more good insight from Luis on the retail market share question I asked last week, too.

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