Category Partners Reports Retail Perishables Stabilize at Elevated Levels
IDAHO FALLS, ID - Many eyes have been closely watching retail sales trends since COVID-19’s impact began to impact the market. One such attentive eye has been Category Partners, which recently reported that the dramatic sales increases seen in the early weeks of shelter-in-place orders have stabilized across perishable departments at grocery stores.
“With the quarantine shopping regimen becoming more routine for consumers, it appears as through the weekly volatility we were seeing a few weeks ago in fresh departments has stabilized,” said Steve Lutz, Senior Vice President of Insights and Innovation. “This comparative stability suggests consumers have begun aligning weekly grocery purchases with anticipated consumption versus the pantry-loading behavior we saw in mid-March.”
A press release laid out the numbers, detailing that Nielsen scan data for the total United States—when compared to the same week last year—showed that most fresh departments continue to sell at elevated levels. Produce was up 16.2 percent, while meat and dairy were also elevated at 36.8 and 26.4 percent, respectively. However, these weekly year-over-year increases are now less than half the level of increase experienced just two weeks ago at the crisis peak, the company noted.
“In general, we expect retail perishable department sales to remain at an elevated baseline compared to the previous year,” said Lutz. “In the short term, this is a likely impact of the shift out of the foodservice sector into retail grocery. The reality is dine-out options for consumers will continue to be greatly reduced for the foreseeable future.“
Lutz also explained that over the coming weeks Category Partners now expects pressure on household budgets resulting from furloughs and job losses to largely offset continued large dollar gains seen in March.
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