January traffic was down 11.7% year-over-year, and sales declined 12.8% year-over-year.
According to a new RetailNext Composite Index Report, which aggregates and analyzes nearly 15+ million shopping trips, specialty and larger format brick-and-mortar retailers experienced an exceptionally challenging environment during the month of January 2014. Severe weather played a role in the traffic declines this year, especially in the highly impacted Midwest and Northeast regions, which experienced the highest declines in this year’s traffic.
In fact, according to weather intelligence firm Planalytics, “January was the coldest in three years, with snowfall almost four times above normal. That followed the coldest December since 2009 with snowfall 21% above normal.” NBC News reports the winter storms have cost the economy $15 Billion!
RetailNext’s Index Report found traffic was down by an average of 11.7% as compared to this month last year, which is almost twice the decline experienced in November and December. Sales in January were down even further, with a decline of 12.8% compared to January of last year. Unlike the holiday period, retailers were unable to protect sales from declining to the same degree as traffic through improvements in conversion and ATV. Rather, retailers experienced only a slight average uptick in conversion of 0.4% pts. and a 4.1% average decline in ATV, resulting in a 2.0% average decline in sales per shopper (SPS). Here’s how it broke down:
- Traffic -11.7%
- Sales -12.8%
- Conversion 0.4%
- ATV -4.1%
- SPS -2.0%
In line with RetailNext’s Index Report, Commerce Department figures released yesterday in Washington (reported by Bloomberg) found “sales at U.S. retailers declined in January by the most since June 2012 amid bad weather and uneven progress in the labor market, signaling the economy was off to a slow start.”
In the face of this seeming “shopping freeze,” many retailers remain optimistic that traffic and sales will pick up once the weather improves. Stay tuned for February’s Benchmark Report!
For more details, including daily, weekly, and key regional performance takeaways, please visit the complete RetailNext Composite Index, our monthly report that aggregates millions of retail performance data points to give you a pulse on the industry.