A warmer October could force lead to steeper discounting for some UK retailers

The Evening Standard highlighted how UK retailers battled sales headwinds in October as warmer temperatures slowed demand for seasonal merchandise.

In the article (“Retailers forced to discount winter wear as mild weather continues”), the writer reports that “Met Office figures suggest that last month was the seventh warmest October since records began in 1884, and temperatures could reach 18 degrees in some parts of the country this week, according to forecasters. And this has meant British shoppers have delayed buying coats, boots and hats and other cold weather gear – heaping pain on an already under-pressure retail sector.”

Planalytics’ weather-driven demand metrics quantify the influence of weather conditions on consumer purchasing and the numbers for October confirm the negative impacts. For example, overall footfall for UK clothing stores during the month was down about 2% due to the weather. For winter season products, weather-driven demand metrics for the second half of October show categories including outerwear, knitwear, and hats & scarves down -5 to -15% compared to the corresponding year ago period.

The unfavorable weather resulted in a slower start to the winter selling season and this already has retailers considering more aggressive discounting and promotions. However, retailers that have visibility into weather impacts for the weeks ahead may be able to preserve margin if more positive weather scenarios are on the horizon. A Retail Dive article (“You can mark this down. Retailers preserve margin with predictive demand analytics.”) pointed out that “by considering when, where, and how much the upcoming weather will impact consumer demand, a retailer can take advantage of favorable conditions to delay markdowns for a period of time or reduce the depth of markdowns (e.g. 30% off instead of 50% off).” Check out the article to learn the various ways weather-driven demand analytics help retailers minimize margin erosion.

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