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Weather Trends - February 2006

Colder Than Most

LAST YEAR, FEBRUARY ranked as the 14th warmest in 111 years and the 56th wettest with exceptionally heavy snowfall limited to New England. This resulted in retail same store sales averaging +4.7%, the second best gains in all of 2005.

Warm weather in late winter historically results in higher store traffic along with higher consumer demand for early spring categories.

This year we may not be as fortunate weather wise, especially in the Midwest where it will trend considerably colder and snowier than last year. Retail industry sales fare best in warm and dry Februarys as that most closely matches the warm weather merchandise that begins to be stocked in retail outlets. In 2003 we had one of the coldest and snowiest Februarys and retail same-store sales were the worst in 20 years, so the weather could have a significant impact this year.

There are some marketing opportunities that play well in colder and snowier months that can help to convince consumers to brave the elements. A recent consumer survey conducted by SDI/Weather Trends and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) found 67% of the 1,020 households contacted would watch more network television in colder and stormier weather. So, any television advertising will reach a greater audience this year in light of the expected weather trends.

Emphasizing an early price promotion may be just the ticket to get consumers out of their hunkered down mentality and cure their “cabin fever.” The survey also found 39% of households would read the newspaper more in stormy weather, so that bodes well for print advertising and fliers, but again there needs to be some sort of incentive to get them to buy spring seasonal products they may not perceive needing just yet.



Jack Grum, VP
SDI/Weather Trends Inc.

November 2005 Weather Trends

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