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Beer sales declined 2% during the week before Independence Day.

Summer CPG sales off to auspicious start

Inflation still a driver as unit sales lag, Nielsen reports

Brick-and-mortar retail sales of U.S. fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) edged up in the week before the Independence Day holiday, though unit sales failed to keep pace, according to Nielsen.

The New York-based consumer market research firm reported that FMCG dollar sales for the week ended June 30 rose 1% to $15.2 billion.

“Unit volume, however, did not follow, and our market this week remains driven by inflationary factors,” Nielsen said in launching its First-to-Market Friday Morning Data Delivery report, designed to reduce the wait time for weekly retail sales performance data.

“On aggregate, nonfood products are seeing the largest uptick in price this week, whereas food categories across bakery, deli, frozen and seafood categories have seen more balanced growth across both dollars and units,” the researcher said. “Soft drinks are one example of a category where we’ve seen average prices climb this week (+2% year over year).”

Among summer-related products, sunscreen sales topped $61.3 million for the week, with spray and stick sunscreens outperforming lotions, according to Nielsen. Leading the category in sales were Edgewell, Johnson & Johnson and private-label products.

On the consumables side, beer — a summertime staple, especially heading into the Fourth of July — underperformed for the week, with sales down 2%.

“Sales are not as buoyant as a year ago, failing to deliver category growth. The softness is being felt across the majority of big beer players,” Nielsen reported, adding that the top 10 beer makers also saw sales dip 2% year over year, with the only bright spot being Constellation Brands Inc., maker of the Corona and Modelo brands.

Condiments are another summer standby for picnics and barbecues. But the category had a mixed performance for the week through June 30.

Mayonnaise and mustard sales stumbled, with respective dollar declines of 5% and 7%. “Consumers have instead flocked towards both sweet and spicy food dressings,” Nielsen said.

Ketchup led condiment sales for the week, with dollar sales climbing 7% to $17.3 million. Unit volume inched up 0.5% for the segment. Hot sauce and chili condiments also turned in robust sales, rising 4% in dollars and 3% in units versus a year ago.

Nielsen noted that, with Friday morning data delivery, it aims to provide “the earliest read” into the retail and consumer goods marketplace so companies can respond promptly to market trends. Its weekly performance data spans dollar and unit sales at supermarkets, drugstores, mass merchants, select dollar stores and warehouse clubs, and military commissaries.

“We saw the need to fuel faster decision-making, and we are proud to be the first data provider within our industry to bring-to-market our Friday morning data delivery,” stated John Tavolieri, president of U.S. FMCG and retail and chief technology and operations officer at Nielsen. “Now more than ever, speed of data is imperative. Earlier data delivery leads to faster, data-driven actions. For all companies navigating the current dynamic business environment, every day counts.”

Learn more about consumer trends at the inaugural SN Summit, held Oct. 1-3 in Dallas, the only conference where food retailers and restaurateurs learn from each other.

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