With consumers now focused on healthful grains and freshness, the in-store bakery's bread category grew over the past year. Bread sales seem to have recovered from any lingering effects of the low-carb craze that was in full swing a few years ago. National bread sales accounted for 18 percent of bakery department dollars sales, up from 17.8 percent the previous year, according to the Perishables Group. The research company compiles data from more than 16,000 stores nationwide; this report contains data for the 52 weeks ending Nov. 24, 2007.
The bread category showed a 6.5 percent increase in per week per store dollar sales from a year ago, averaging $1,550 and outpacing bakery department growth of 5.4 percent during the time frame. The weeks of Christmas in 2006 and Thanksgiving in 2007 captured the greatest average weekly dollar sales, about 19.2 percent and 24.7 percent higher than the annual average.
Historically, bread sales spike in March near the St. Patrick's Day holiday, driven by Irish soda bread and brown and rye breads. During the 52-week time frame, the third highest sales week was the St. Patrick's Day week, followed three weeks later by another peak for Easter. Bread sales reached an annual low of $1,410 the week after the Thanksgiving holiday as consumers likely focused on their holiday leftovers. However, in-store bakeries have an opportunity to mitigate the post-holiday sales drop in the bread category by offering consumers ideas to incorporate bread into leftover meals, such as gourmet sandwiches and casseroles.
Regionally, the East region contributed the highest percentage of bread dollar sales to the bakery department during the year, averaging 20.4 percent per week per store. Category contribution in the East was more than two percentage points higher than the national average and up 0.4 percent compared to the previous year. The region also claimed the greatest bread dollar sales across the country, averaging $2,489 per week per store, up from year ago sales. Dollar sales increased in all regions compared to the previous year. Bread contribution to total bakery dollar sales increased in the East and South regions, while remaining flat in the Central region and falling slightly in the West.
Across the United States, hot/hearth breads accounted for 38.3 percent of bread dollar sales, followed by artisan/specialty/crusty breads at 34.2 percent. (The Perishables Group defines hot/hearth breads as breads that are served warm and are often hot meal accompaniments, such as Italian bread, French bread and garlic bread.) Breakfast/sandwich breads at 20.2 percent had the third highest dollar share, followed by other breads at 7.3 percent. All subcategories saw a spike in average weekly dollar sales during the Thanksgiving holidays.
For more information about this sales review or the Perishables Group, call Beth Padera at 773/929-7013 or email email@example.com.