Sunny Forecast for Retail

Jul 08, 2005

By George Anderson

Blame it on the weather. How often have sales been off at a particular retailer’s stores and bad weather is one of the reasons listed for the disappointing results?

With many retailers posting better than expected numbers for June and others predicting a strong July, weather, this time the good kind, is being given credit for getting customers
into the stores to shop.

Consumers, reports the National Retail Federation (NRF), still remain somewhat hesitant about “splurging.”

Still, retail executives are optimistic about the near-term prospects.

NRF president and CEO Tracy Mullin said in a released statement, “Warm weather and Father’s Day spending brought consumers into the stores last month and retailers are hopeful
that early back-to-school promotions will keep them coming back for the remainder of the summer.”

Moderator’s Comment: Discuss the weather factor in retailing. Many take issue with companies that blame poor performance on the weather. Are you among

George Anderson – Moderator

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4 Comments on "Sunny Forecast for Retail"

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Bernice Hurst
16 years 10 months ago
Right, I admit it, I’m a fair weather shopper. Or, rather, a mediocre weather shopper. If it’s too nice, the last place I want to be is a store (unless I’m in urgent need of food to cook on the barbecue or a few more plants to fill the gaps in my garden or even a new set of chairs or a sun umbrella to enhance my outdoor pleasures). If it’s cold or wet, I’m even less likely to venture out and there is nothing I can think of that would make me change my mind, nothing that would enhance my indoor experience, for example, in the ways that my outdoor experience can be enhanced. I freely admit, as well, that I am probably a very atypical shopper in every way but I’m sure I’m not alone in having the weather influence whether or not I get in my car to spend my leisure time in a mall or any other kind of store. I’ve even been known to use bad weather as an excuse… Read more »
George Whalin
George Whalin
16 years 10 months ago

Retailers blame the weather for poor sales and praise the weather when sales are good. Don’t you find it interesting that, regardless of the weather, the nation’s best-run, most highly focused retail businesses seem to do well? Yes, the weather can cause temporary dips in traffic. At the same time, if a retailer offers great selection of merchandise, a pleasantly memorable shopping experience, and compelling reasons to shop in their stores, customers will do so . . . in all kinds of weather.

David Livingston
16 years 10 months ago

Weather is what weak retailers use to blame their problems on rather than their own blunders. I personally think, over the long run, weather has no impact on retailing and companies that blame weather are weak and of poor character. Any CEO that blames the weather for poor sales should be fired.

For good retailers, the weather is always good and for bad retailers the weather is always bad. It’s either too cold, too hot, too wet or too dry. Others just keep plugging along and show increasing sales.

Paul Walsh
Paul Walsh
16 years 10 months ago
The weather — or, more specifically, the weather’s impact on consumer demand — has historically been a latent problem that retailers and manufacturers understood as causing significant volatility in their businesses, but have largely ignored from a planning perspective. This paradigm (“cope and avoid”) is rapidly becoming obsolete. Data warehouses, increasingly accurate weather forecasts, exponentially faster computer horsepower (hardware and software) and the continuing need to better understand and anticipate consumer buying trends makes the integration of weather-driven demand into retail plans a reality. Increasingly, retailers and manufacturers are using weather-driven demand information to optimize sales plans, allocate products to stores, time receipt flows, design and time marketing campaigns, and make markdown decisions. This new paradigm (“anticipate and exploit”) has also been adopted by Wall Street Analysts, who are now judging retailers not just by their performance, but by their performance as it relates to the weather-driven demand environment. The impact of weather on consumers is real; it’s arguably the most predictable external driver of consumer demand, and it is soon going to become a… Read more »

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