In The News


Extreme Weather A Threat To Retail

By David Moin

Questions are being raised as to whether retailers can beat the heat or succumb to the preponderance of record

The scorching heat persists. Hurricanes are increasingly violent. Wildfires are spreading, and rain, flood, wind and air quality advisories are near routine.

For retailers, the bottom line is that extreme weather conditions weigh heavy on traffic patterns. . . .

Retailers need to be ready when major weather occurrences hit, said Evan Gold, vice president of global partnerships and alliances at Planalytics, which consults retailers on managing through the weather. “Consumers today expect that retailers will be in stock on the items they want, when they want to purchase it. When extreme weather hits, and often when it is forecasted to occur, it is critical that retailers are prepared. This begins with the planning process and continues through to buying, allocating and replenishing inventory at a local level to meet this demand,” Gold said. . . .

“Many people will look to go to malls and indoor destinations such as movie theaters as a way to beat the heat. In other cases, people will look to shop from the comfort of home,” via the internet, said Gold at Planalytics.

“In extreme weather conditions, consumers buy to need. In extreme heat, this means consumables such as cold drinks and often sports drinks, icecoffee, as well as sun care, icecream, and bagged ice. Other need-based categories include air conditioners, fans, car batteries, shorts, swimwear and sandals.

“Demand spikes on the days ahead of a heat wave when traditional and social media raise awareness,” Gold added. “Generally this drives need based purchasing and often to the detriment of discretionary purchasing. Need-based items tend to experience 20 to SO percent demand increases in the two days prior to an extreme weather event. On the back side of an event – a hurricane, snowstorm, tornado – attention can remain away from discretionary as DIV chains pick up traffic for repair and clean-up needs.”

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