Shoppers Mostly Brush Away Storm, Frigid Temps in Holiday Home Stretch
Women’s Wear Daily
By: Arthur Friedman with contributions from Maghan McDowell, Misty White Sidell
The seasonal weather forecast for the East Coast this coming week compared to last year’s unusually warm weather “bodes well” for the last shopping week before the holiday.
A little snow and ice or online glitch didn’t seem to stand too much in the way of shoppers finishing their final holiday push this Super Saturday weekend, although some softness worked its way in.
Evan Gold, executive vice president for global services at Planalytics, said Saturday’s weather had ”pretty much panned out as we expected.”
“It was traffic disrupting, especially in the morning along the East Coast — New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and even Boston,” Gold said. “Most markets got two to four inches of snow, which was actually good for continuing to keep customers in a winter mind-set. The ice was probably the bigger challenge, But when you look at the season as a whole, it’s not going to have a material impact.”
He said if anything, Saturday’s Winter Storm Decima shifted some shopping either into later in the day or into Sunday.
As for Sunday and the rest of the week, Gold noted that the Midwest is “getting absolutely blasted by cold weather.” The high in Chicago on Sunday wasn’t expected to rise above zero degrees and places like Minneapolis were going to have highs of five or 10 degrees below zero.
“Obviously that’s well below normal and extremely different from last year — 40 or 50 degrees different on a year-over-year basis,” he said. “People are still out shopping, it’s that time of year, but what it impacts are what people are putting into their baskets. We’re looking at double-digit increases on items like winter boots, thermals, scarves, hats and gloves of anywhere from 10 to 30 percent on a year-over-year basis on a national level. If you drill lower on a regional or market basis, it’s going to be even higher the colder the market.”
The fairly normal weather forecast for the East Coast this coming week compared to last year’s unusually warm weather “bodes well” for the last shopping week before the holiday, Gold said.
He said for December as a whole, Planalytics, which quantifies the economic impact of weather on consumer demand, puts a $350 million impact year-over-year spent on seasonal apparel in the country as a whole, the bulk of which comes from the Northeast and Midwest.