SAN ANTONIO — Grocery perimeter sales rose 11.2% in the last week of May but still trailed total store sales growth.
Total edible sales grew 17.5% during the week, compared to the year before, according to a new report from IRi and 210 Analytics.
“Center store food and beverage continued to significantly outperform the overall fresh perimeter performance as meat, hindered by severe tightness in supply, did not boost fresh department sales as much as it had in recent weeks,” according to the report. Sales declines in deli and instore bakery also helped pull down perimeter sales.
The overall deli number held relatively steady against the prior three weeks. Deli cheese continued to have double-digit increases versus the same week in 2019, though gains eroded by about two points. Deli meat gains have mostly been trending in the single digits, but reached their highest point in a few weeks.
And while still down, deli-prepared (random weight, and some limited private label UPC) is no longer trending 40-50% down from last year, but in the high twenties.
“While still off, this is a vast improvement as more retailers are experimenting with packaged versus bulk items or re-opening some of the cases with employee assistance,” according to the report.
During the final week of May, meat and poultry supply remained tight but demand continued to be elevated. Retail demand stayed well above last year’s baseline even as restaurants around the country started seeing improvements in reservations, transactions and continued elevated engagement with takeout.
At retail, purchase limits remained in place for many popular cuts. Prices stayed mostly stable week-over-week but remained up significantly compared with year ago. Despite the supply pressure, dollar sales grew 18.7% the week of May 31 versus year ago and volume grew 2.8%.
During the last week of May, elevated everyday demand drove double-digit produce gains for fresh, frozen and shelf-stable fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce year-over-year growth for the week of May 31 versus the comparable week in 2019 increased 13.2%.
Year-to-date, fresh produce sales are up 10.4% over the same time period in 2019. Frozen fruit and vegetables increased the most, up 28.8%, despite continued high out-of-stocks and severely limited assortment availability for both frozen vegetables and fruit. Year-to-date growth for frozen was also +28.8% versus last year.
Meat alternative (fresh plus frozen) sales, meanwhile, have seen tremendous gains throughout since early March when coronavirus upended many grocery shopping patterns. Dollar and volume sales gains versus the same week in 2019 have been in the double-digits for 13 weeks running. Year-over-year sales gains peaked during the first of the two panic buying weeks with an increase of 152% versus the same week in 2019.