Weather-driven retail “egg-spectations” for Easter 2024

With Easter falling in March (3/31) for the first time in eight years, retailers may be worried that key spring category sales will lag behind last year’s run-up to Easter. Any sales performance concerns certainly have merit since the average temperature is about 3 degrees cooler in the last week of March than the second week of April.

However, from an “Easter-on-Easter” comp perspective, retailers may be surprised to find some opportunities.  Even though Easter fell on April 9th last year, seasonal demand was limited due to colder-than-normal conditions in the run-up to the holiday weekend, especially in the Northeast.

The week leading into this year’s March 31st Easter will feature a window of favorable demand conditions in New England and parts of the Midwest due to warmer-than-normal temperatures next week. Additionally, shoppers from the country’s eastern half will welcome a more springtime feel as temperatures rebound from this week’s cold snap.

Unfortunately, not all regions will see favorable weather in the days leading into Easter.  Much of the West and Southeast will face colder-than-normal temperatures during the last week of March.  With high “weather sensitivity” (the percentage of sales directly attributable to changes in the weather) in March along the country’s southern tier, the less-than-helpful conditions will significantly dampen demand for seasonal products this year.  Next week, for example, Atlanta faces a negative 13% weather impact compared to normal, apparel store transactions will be down 5% in Dallas due to the weather, and Phoenix can expect a weather headwind of 10% for capris.

The image below focuses on the elevated sensitivity of apparel categories in southern markets in March compared to April.  In years when springtime weather arrives early, these regions benefit from robust early-season sales. Some years — like this year — will result in a slow start for clothing retailers due to a negative weather environment.

Weather Sensitivity is a metric that indicates how much of a product category’s sales in a given period and location are directly attributable to changes in the weather.