SAN ANTONIO - Since early March grocery retailers have experienced unprecedented sales as the result of the rise of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States, a pattern that has continued into the first week of April. 

Data released by 210 Analytics and IRI shows that total grocery sales were elevated 16.9% for the week ending on April 5 compared to the same timeframe in 2019. Within specific departments, dairy sales were up 30.6%, bakery sales were up 9.3% and deli sales were down 22.5%. 

Within the dairy category, butter (up 71%), eggs (up 51.8%) and sour cream (up 47.6%) were the top sales items. Natural cheese experienced a 39.8% bump and processed cheese was up 46.2%.  

Overall, the deli category took a hit sinking 22.5%, but within the category results are mixed. Deli meat and cheese are still elevated with deli meat sales 6.2% above 2019 sales and cheese sales up 16.6%. The biggest impact on the category were plummeting sales for deli-prepared foods (down 43.1%), a category that many grocers have closed out in response to COVID-19. 

Sales in the baking department are also mixed. While bakery aisle sales are up 18.9% and cookies and crackers sales are up 14%, instore bakery sales are down 22.9%.  

Within the instore bakery category bread sales are up 10.7% and croissants are up 5.6%, but decreased sales in donuts (down 51.9%), cakes (down 35.1%) and cookies (down 14.9%) are dragging the category down. 

On the bakery aisle sales are strong with fresh bread and rolls up 29.3%, bagels up 28.9% and English muffins up 35.5%. 

Looking forward, 210 Analytics president Anne-Marie Roerink predicts that sales in the second week of April will be impacted by Easter week, which is usually a strong sales week in preparation for family gatherings to celebrate the holiday.  

“In the absence of family gatherings, Easter celebrations and dinners are likely to have been very different in makeup and size,” Roerink said. “Increased everyday demand on retail sales is likely to continue while social distancing measures are in effect, driven by increased at-home meal occasions. At the same time economic pressure is continuing to build with ever-rising unemployment numbers. Shopping patterns will also likely remain very different in number, size, day of the week, day part and online ordering trends.” 

For sales reports on individual items within the dairy, deli and bakery categories, view the full report here