Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Snow’s impact in the eye of beholder


snow1Check out the the bad and the good of the severe weather last month.

In the bad camp are restaurant chains Ruby Tuesday and Burger King, which both blamed the bad weather for keeping diners away.

Squarely in the good camp was sporting goods retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods, which posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on strong demand for cold weather gear.

Last week, U.S. retailers posted their best monthly sales performance in February since just before the recession started in 2007 as fewer discounts helped them weather record-setting snow.

Also in the basket:

Kroger profit shrinks, but beats Wall Street

Duane Reade quarterly net loss widens

Jones Soda agrees to be bought by Reeds

Retail Stocks Reach New Highs (WWD, subscription required)

(Reuters photo: Employees of a New York restaurant shovel snow in February)

Check Out Line: Snowstorm doesn’t drive shoppers online


SHOPPERS2Check out how the East Coast’s weekend snowstorm might not have been a boon to online shoppers.

A survey of 1,000 U.S. shoppers over the weekend found that the convenience of shopping from the warmth of their homes and the bask of their computer screens was not enough to lure them away from bricks and mortar stores even in whiteout conditions.

Check Out Line: Let it snow? Bah! humbug!


CANADA/Check out the winter wonderland.
As in, “I wonder if people are going to fight through the snow, sleet and rain this weekend to come to my store?”
A major storm headed for the Northeast could make things dicey for retailers on the last Saturday before Christmas, typically one of the biggest two shopping days of the year.
Retailers are hoping for a strong weekend to help lift what many analysts expect to be the worst holiday shopping season in about two decades.
But having just walked to work in Chicago, I can tell you that, depending on how this wintry mess hits the Northeast, consumers might have second thoughts about leaving their homes for the mall.
Planalytics, which measures the effect of weather on retailers, says the Northeast, lower Midwest and Great Lakes regions could see snow, sleet or freezing rain. On the West Coast, recent rainy conditions could continue to disrupt holiday traffic.
Along with steep discounts and extended hours, maybe retailer’s could offer door-to-door transportation.
Also in the basket:
Retailers may not rebound until 2010: analysts
Peltz’s Trian reports 7.18 pct stake in Dr Pepper
Beauty joins holiday’s discount mania (WWD, subscription required)

(Photo: Reuters)

Check Out Line: Mother Nature matters more than ever


rain2.jpgCheck out the cool and wet weather that hit U.S. retailers in September as the month will go into the books as the fifth coolest in the last seven years and much cooler than last year, according to Planalytics Inc, a business weather tracking company.

While the mean September temperature in the 96 largest U.S. metro areas fell about 4 points from last year to 64.2 degrees, retailers selling rainwear (demand up 29 percent based purely on weather), pants (up 13 percent), dehumidifiers (up 10 percent) and hot cereal (up 2 percent) benefited, Planalytics said.

Temperatures favor retailers for a change


beach.jpgRetailers looking to sell seasonal merchandise got a helping hand from the weather last week — at least in some parts of the country.

According to weather tracking firm Planalytics, the week ending June 7 marked the first time in 7 weeks that the temperature average across North America was warmer than the same week the prior year.

Check Out Line: Let the sunshine in


sun21.jpgCheck out a little retail sunshine.
The weather finally got a little better in April, which helped retailer’s sales even as the economy stayed week, according to Planalytics.
“While April 2008, on a national level, may have been an ‘average’ month in terms of temperature — the weather helped unleash pent up demand, improving sales in the Northeast, Midwest and the Ohio Valley,” the consulting firm said.
The company, which provides weather information for businesses, said home centers, restaurants and softline retailers all showed positive year-on-year gains. 
It called out Bon-Ton, Dress Barn, Family Dollar and Lowe’s as having the strongest sales gains.
“While the economy remains sluggish, the weather has certainly done its part this month to improve business’ fortunes,” said Scott Bernhardt, Planalytics Chief Operating Officer.
Also in the basket:
Dr Pepper Snapple to focus on brands, U.S.
Unilever looks for Bertolli sale deal: sources 

(Photo: Reuters)

Could there be sunshine on the horizon for retailers?


umbrella.jpgMarch’s weather was not exactly a friend to retailers.

It was cold, damp and even snowy in parts of the country — not quite ideal weather conditions for retailers trying to sell new spring goods, like dresses, sandals, or even fertilizer. (We saw the extent of their struggles on Thursday, when retailers reported dismal March sales figures)

While weather is obviously a very local phenomenon, April so far has not been much kinder than March. According to weather tracking firm Planalytics, this weekend – April 12th and 13th — will be a repeat of most Eastern weekends this spring — a mixture of storminess and cooler temperatures.