RetailNext has released its Retail Performance Pulse for brick-and-mortar store performance for the month of January (January 3-30 on retail’s 4-5-4 calendar), and at the high level it reports a 4.6 decrease in store sales on a 4.3 percent decline in store traffic.
While traffic was down, it is trending in the “right” direction, with each of the past three months noticeably better than figures reported in late summer and early autumn. And, while winter storm Jonas had an adverse impact on the South region, traffic was actually up for the month in the Northeast region.
January saw flat figures for conversion and average transaction values (ATV), and the miniscule dip in sales per shopper (SpS) reversed a big positive trend experienced over the holiday season.
An interesting result can be found in returns, up considerably in January. New shopping journeys now see shoppers – particularly online – buying multiple sizes of the same garment and trying them on in the comfort and convenience of their own homes. Of course, that practice leads to increased returns, and the subsequent hit on retailers’ SGA expenses trims profit margins even more.
Will returns be a trend worth looking out for in 2016? Next month’s Retail Performance Pulse awaits!