The bakery department increased dollar sales 1.9 percent in the 52 weeks ending March 26, 2011, compared to the prior year. Desserts contributed to the increase with 1.6 percent dollar growth. Despite this hike in the supercategory, the brownies and dessert bars category declined in dollar sales by 1.5 percent, posing an opportunity for retailers to evaluate strategies and current offerings for the category.
In the 52 weeks ending March 26, 2011, brownies and dessert bars made up 1.4 percent of the in-store bakery department. Within the past five years, sales of brownies and dessert bars peaked in 2009 at $141 per store per week. The category is composed of regular brownies, mini/two bite brownies, iced brownies, gourmet/large brownies, dessert bars, blondies and message brownies.
Nationally, brownies and dessert bars averaged sales of $139 per store per week, a 1.5 percent decrease from the previous year. The week of Dec. 25, 2010, had the highest sales for the brownies and dessert bars category with $198 per store per week, an increase of 2.4 percent from the prior year. This is typically the highest sales week of the year due to the Christmas holiday. The second highest sales week, the week of July 10, 2010, coincided with the Fourth of July holiday with average dollar sales of $193 per store per week; this was a 14.8 percent increase from the prior year. An increase in brownie and dessert bar sales also occurred the week before and of Valentine’s Day. The lowest sales week for the category was the week ending Jan. 15, 2010, with $115 in sales per store per week.
Only the East region’s and Central region’s sales grew compared to the previous year in the brownies and dessert bars category. The East region had the highest average sales of $220 per store per week, significantly outperforming the national average of $139 per store per week. Brownies and dessert bars in the East and West regions contributed the highest percentage to bakery sales, each accounting for 1.6 percent of department sales. The South region significantly underperformed compared to the national average, posting average sales of $84 per store per week, a decrease of 6.2 percent compared to the previous year.
Within the brownies and dessert bars category, regular brownies and mini/two bite brownies accounted for 64.7 percent of the category’s sales nationally. Regular brownies, with 37.3 percent of category share, increased sales 9.7 percent compared to a year ago, the largest increase within the category. Despite being the second largest contributor to the category with 27.4 percent of category share, mini/two bite brownies’ sales declined 14.5 percent versus a year ago. Dollar sales remained steady versus a year ago for iced brownies, with 15.3 percent category share, and gourmet/large brownies, with 14.4 percent category share. Dessert bars (5.3 percent) and blondies (0.3 percent) contributed minimally to the category.
While sales declined for the entire brownies and dessert bars category, sales of regular brownies increased in every region. Regular brownies include plain brownies, brownies with nuts, assorted/variety brownies and other brownies. Within the West region, average weekly sales were up 24.7 percent compared to a year ago, the highest of any region.
This sales review is provided by the Perishables Group, Inc., a Chicago-based fresh food consulting firm. Reported results are for April 3, 2010, through March 26, 2011, representing more than 63 percent of national supermarket ACV share. For more information, contact Perishables Group: Kelli Beckel, 773/929.7013; e-mail: KelliB@perishablesgroup.com.