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Leading Brazil retailer launches new species drive

Campaign aimed at creating consumer interest as annual 'Fish Week' promotional campaign kicks off.

Leading Brazilian supermarket retailer Grupo Pão de Açúcar (GPA) launched a campaign to attract consumers to new species as the seafood industry's biggest promotional event Semana do Peixe 'Fish Week' gets under way.

Shoppers will get the chance to buy non commercial species such as sirigado (whiting), olho de cão, (praicanthus arenatus) olho de boi (seriola islandi) and cioba (snapper), as well as pangasius, and other native species like pirarucu and pintado as the retailer launches a sales push aside from the most commonly sold tilapia and salmon products.

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Retailers invested heavily again this year in TV ads, promotional materials, recipe information and staff and supplier training for the fifteenth annual campaign, which runs Sept. 1-15.

"I'm very optimistic about the campaign," GPA Commercial Manager Rafael Guinutzman told IntraFish. "It is a very important moment despite all the difficulties that the sector is facing because of the [strong] dollar, which at BRL 4.21 makes buying imported products unfeasible."

Guinutzman has molded almost his entire 20 year career with the powerful retailer, which in 2017 had group sales of BRL 44.6 billion ($10.9 billion/€9.5 billion), employing more than 140,000 people in 22 states, in addition to the federal district, home to the capital city Brasilia.

He now oversees the company's seafood and pork businesses, having moved up through the ranks.

The retailer relies on a variety of marketing strategies to lure consumers to seafood.

In 80 stores on the outskirts of cities, for example, where demand is not always constant, the retailer deploys mobile fishmongers stalls.

It has also instituted '"Fish Friday" promotions to get customers accustomed to buying products on a certain day of the week.

GPA is part of French supermarket retail group Casino, selling a limited range of products in stores. In its growing Brazilian local convenience store businesses "Minuto" and "Mini-Mercado Extra" the company sells seafood products using skin packs and modified atmosphere packaging (MAP).

Guinutzman, who spoke with IntraFish on the sidelines of the Seafood Summit conference in Brasilia, said category managers for the company's store brands "Taeq" and "Qualitá" are always on the lookout for new quality products, including those from seafood.

Grupo Pão de Açúcar has 2,062 stores across Brazil trading under a variety of banners, including electrical goods stores Casas Bahia, white goods supplier Ponto Frio, "extra" supermarkets and hypermarkets, Pão de Açúcar, and the growing Assaí wholesale division.

The retailer sells frozen fish in 750 stores. Fresh fishmongers are situated in some 230 outlets.

By value seafood accounts for 23 percent of the company's protein sales compared with 43 percent for beef, 25 percent for chicken and 9 percent for pork.

Volume sales are led by chicken (44 percent), beef (31 percent), seafood (15 percent) and pork (10 percent).

By contrast seafood sales surge as Easter approaches in this predominantly Roman Catholic country.

"We sell two months worth of fish in a week," Guinutzman said.

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