CHICAGO -- A recent report from Information Resources Inc. here shows that overall retail sales of pet food has rebounded from a decline last year after 9/11, to strong 5.7% growth in the first 24 weeks of 2002.
The pet category's first-half growth was the greatest among the eight nonfood "mega-consumption" groups that IRI tracks. It was led by an 8% increase in dog food sales and a 3% increase in cat food sales, all according to Sept. 8, 2002, data.
Wal-Mart was responsible for most of the improvement, IRI said, with dollar sales growth of 13.6%, while the drug channel was second, growing 7.5%. Wal-Mart, which accounted for just under 20% of the supermarket, supercenter, drug store and mass merchandiser sales, generated 50% of the sales growth, IRI said.
That performance is contrasted with the 2.4% dollar sales growth in the supermarket channel, IRI said. Still, supermarkets continue to attract the most pet shoppers, the market research firm said.
The four pet product categories (dog food, cat food, pet supplies and litter) that IRI tracks were purchased at a variety of outlets. Supermarkets, mass merchandisers, supercenters, pet stores, club stores, dollar stores and drug stores all sold significant amounts of pet products.
Thirty-seven percent of U.S. households made at least one dog food purchase at a supermarket in the 52-week period ended in June 2002, IRI said.
At least one grocery chain has not seen either a significant jump or a decline. Pet product sales have been fairly stable in 2002, said Jeff Lowrance, spokesman for Food Lion, Salisbury, N.C.