Northeast snowstorm took some bite out of a good start to holiday sales

Severe winter weather across the Northeastern U.S. took a toll on holiday retail sales during the week ending December 6, ShopperTrak reported in its National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE). Year-over-year sales for the holiday shopping season’s second week fell by 3.3% from the same week in 2002, which was also impacted by winter weather, albeit less severe than that which crippled much of New York and New England during the past week.

Despite the inclement weather, ShopperTrak reported that week-over-week sales improved on the momentum established during the season’s initial week, posting a significant 8.6% increase over the week ending Nov. 29.

“Despite the weather-induced dip in sales compared to the same period last year, it is not yet clear whether it was just a shifting in demand to future shopping days and media such as online and catalog sales,” said Michael Niemira, lead consultant for ShopperTrak. “For now though, it seems as though the industry will have time to recoup the loss in demand due to Mother Nature and still enjoy the strong season that it had hoped for.”

Developed by ShopperTrak, the NRSE provides a nationwide benchmark of retail sales. It is derived from the U.S. Commerce Department’s GAFO (general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales) statistic, as well as ShopperTrak’s proprietary industry intelligence on shopper movement and sales statistics.