Improving weather is expected to help boost sales.
By: David Frieberg
The weather is notoriously volatile and it often surprises us as individuals and as businesses. We discuss how it was unusually cold or abnormally warm. We hear about records that are broken or how the weather conditions have not been like this in over twenty or thirty years. We scratch our heads and wonder how both New York City and Los Angeles could have the same high temperature (64 degrees) this most recent Black Friday. Companies point to unfavorable weather as a reason for disappointing financial results. The weather seems to be anything but normal… it just seems to be a completely unpredictable mess!
The apparel industry only needs to look back to the end of 2015 for a clear, and unfortunately painful, example of the impact that weather can have on sales performance. A stubbornly consistent warm pattern settled over the eastern half of the U.S. throughout most of November and December. It was far from normal and resulted in a big financial hit for apparel chains, department stores, and other apparel-focused businesses. Planalytics calculated that the weather shaved $572 million in sales from apparel specialty stores alone during the holiday shopping season. Coats, scarves, sweaters, and other winter apparel items were just not “top of mind” for shoppers as they walked into the mall jacketless, or worse yet, in their t-shirts.