Our latest RetailNext Composite Index Report is out and the data is encouraging. We analyzed 14+ million shopping trips in data sets across specialty and larger format retail stores within the continental U.S. and found that this April retailers experienced an average year-over-year (YoY) decline of 2.1% in both traffic and sales.
Why is that good news? RetailNext’s April 2014 shows an improvement in both traffic and sales compared to March and February 2014, which saw traffic decrease 5.4% and 8.2% YoY, respectively. Sales in were also down to the tune of 10% to 10.3%, making April’s sales decline seem modest.
Here’s how April 2014 panned out for brick and mortar retailers:
Our team found that the April 2014 Easter holiday week played out well overall for physical retailers and that retail performance played out quite differently across regions in the U.S. – perhaps a result of lingering bad weather in the Midwest. Here are a few highlights from the Report:
- April benefited from the Easter holiday in 2014; traffic and sales peaked for the month on the day before the holiday
- Easter Sunday enjoyed the highest levels of ATV for the month, but essentially saw the lowest levels for all other metrics
- The Midwest saw the month’s largest decline in traffic of 10.1% and sales of 8.4% despite an ATV increase of 3.2%
- Despite a decrease in traffic of 1.3%, the Northeast saw an increase in sales of 2.6% amidst an uptick of 2.8% in ATV and flat conversion of -0.1%.
We may be on the upswing heading into May. The forecast for the remainder of 2014 looks bright, according to many economists. USA Today just reported that while forecasters expecting a bigger early spring were disappointed with retail sales growth April, “the median forecast of 40 top economists in USA TODAY’s quarterly survey projects the economy will grow at annual pace of 3% or better in this quarter and the rest of the year.” Consumer (retail) spending plays a big role in such forecasts.
For more details, including daily, weekly, and key regional performance takeaways, visit the complete RetailNext Composite Index: U.S. Specialty Retail, our monthly report that aggregates millions of retail performance data points to give you a pulse on the industry.