Despite a slow start to sales in the new-crop year, the apple category is showing strong signs of growth, according to a new industry analysis.

The latest Fruit Tracker Fast Facts video analysis of Nielsen scan data from Wenatchee, Washington-based Stemilt Growers finds that despite a short crop, apple sales are comparable to last year at the same time.

Stemilt’s analysis of December 2018 U.S. retail scan data shows average weekly dollars and pounds of apples sold were flat compared to December 2017. The average U.S. store sold 1,685 pounds of apples per week in December 2018, bringing an average of $2,710 to the store each week.

The category’s top apple variety, gala, has rebounded from its December 2017 performance, with volumes and dollars up 11% year-over-year.

“The fact that apple sales are flat during a shorter crop year is a sign of great demand for a popular fruit,” says Brianna Shales, Stemilt’s communications manager. “Retailers should be encouraged about the performance of their apple category and its leading apple, Gala, in the first four months of this new crop year.”

Gala made up approximately one-quarter of apple sales in December 2018 with an average retail price of $1.29 per pound. Honeycrisp led the top 5 apple varieties in average retail pricing with an average price per pound of $2.28. Honeycrisp represented 17.4% of apple category sales and 24.6 percent of the dollars. Dollar sales of Honeycrisp were up 4% in December 2018 when compared to the year prior. Granny Smith, fuji, and red delicious rounded out the top five apple varieties in December 2018.