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RetailNext: Hot weather cools off store performance in October


Store performance disappointed almost across the board during October, and circumstances beyond retailers’ control may have had a lot to do with it.

According to the October 2015 Retail Store Performance Pulse report from brick-and-mortar analytics firm RetailNext nc., almost every metric tracked by the report declined more year-over-year than in the prior month. Sales declined 12.2%, compared to 8.7% in September. Traffic fell 10.7% after falling a less-than-expected 8.1%, and sales per shopper (SPS) declined 1.1%, compared to 0.5%. Returns inched upward to 0.2% from 0.1%.

The only area of improvement was average transaction value, which rose 3.8% compared to 1.1%, but a dramatic increase in transaction decline to 15.1% from 9.6% more than counteracted any benefit.

“The weather has been so warm, retailers have been unable to sell cold-weather goods,” said Shelley E. Kohan, P of retail consulting at RetailNext, in an interview with Chain Store Age. “The word is there were strong auto sales for the month, so overall spend continues to rise, but not in retail stores.”

Kohan also said consumers are increasingly spending money on experiences, such as travel or dining, rather than on material items, and retailers should take notice.

“Retailers who take customer interest in experience into account will be ahead,” advised Kohan.

RetailNext is maintaining its previously released prediction for a 2.8% increase in holiday sales compared to 2014, although Kohan said the final amount may wind up on the better side of that figure.

“We are going into November hopefully on an uptick, with some of that pent-up shopping demand from October carrying over,” she said.

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