Labor Day weekend meat sales helped boost the sector’s performance significantly for the week ending Sept. 6, according to an analysis from 210 Analytics.

“Already a strong grocery holiday during regular times, expectations for Labor Day grocery sales were high and reality did not disappoint,” Anne-Marie Roerink, president of 210 Analytics, said in her analysis. “The holiday fell a week later than in 2019, which helped further boost the results in departments across the store, including the meat department.”

For the week ending Sept. 6, “dollars gained 18.2% over year-ago levels during one of the biggest grilling weekends of the summer,” 210 Analytics’ meat report said. “Volume gains jumped into double digits as well, at +11.4%.”

Roerink noted that the results of the week “were positively influenced by the off-timing between the 2020 and 2019 holidays. However, if we were to compare the holiday weeks against one another directly, the 2020 performance remains impressive, up 15.9% in dollars and +8.5% in volume.”

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Most other grocery departments also did well, Roerink said. Produce sales growth was up 11.6% over the year-ago week, bakery sales increased 8.5%, and dairy was up 13.8%. Deli sales were down 4.7%.

“Retailers invested big in price on the fruit side, which led to robust gains, and volume surpassing dollars for the first time in many months,” Roerink said.

“This positive momentum for the grocery industry going into the fall is a fundamentally different picture than what we had been seeing these last few years,” said Jeremy Johnson, vice president of education at the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association. “Importantly, many departments drove sales gains by engaging more buyers, securing more product trips and increased spending per trip. The big question for the fall and beyond becomes how we can continue to engage at these levels.”

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