Blizzard Could Cost Retailers $1 Billion in Sales

Blizzard could cost retailers $1 billion in salesChicago–The blizzard that crippled the Northeast on the days immediately following Christmas may have strongly affected retail traffic and delayed some $1 billion in post-holiday spending.

ShopperTrak measured the impact of the blizzard that crippled the Northeast particularly on Dec. 26 and 27. The company’s analysis shows because of the blizzard:

·On Dec. 26 total U.S. foot traffic was 11.2% below what it would have been expected if the blizzard had not hit the Northeast

·Northeast region foot traffic fell 6.1% on Dec. 26 while the other three regions (Midwest, South, West) had an average gain of 38.6% versus last year.

· On Dec. 27 total U.S. foot traffic was 13.9% below expectations had the blizzard not hit the Northeast.

·Northeast region foot traffic fell 42.9% on Dec. 27 compared to 2009, while the other regions averaged a 13.0 percent gain.

·Preliminary GAFO retail sales estimates for Dec. 26 and 27 combined are roughly $10 billion. Assuming a conservative 10% sales impact nationally for the blizzard, roughly $1 billion of retail spending was postponed during the two-day period.

Post Christmas Sales May Rebound

“As expected the 2010 blizzard throughout the Northeast halted nearly all retail visits and spending during a period that is fairly crucial for retailers,” ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said.  “And at this point the prospect of momentarily pausing a potential $1 billion in sales has the collective industry holding its breath,” Martin said.

“While we do think there will be some retail strength later this week and into the weekend as folks begin to dig out, it will be interesting to see if levels recover in time to boost December sales and the overall holiday shopping season.”

ShopperTrak, which had forecast a 4.0% rise in sales and a 1.8% increase in traffic for the holiday season, reaffirmed its forecast based on the strength of November sales and a Dec. 23 surge as well as a possible recovery in sales over in the next few days.

About ShopperTrak

Developed by ShopperTrak, the NRSE provides a nationwide benchmark of retail sales. It is derived from the U.S. Commerce Department’s GAFO (general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales) statistic, as well as ShopperTrak proprietary industry intelligence on shopper movement and sales statistics.

 

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