The titanic Sunday snowstorm that paralyzed much of the Eastern seaboard might have cost retailers $1 billion in the two days after Christmas.
That’s the preliminary estimate from ShopperTrak RCT Corp., the Chicago-based firm that provides research and analysis on retail sales and traffic, based on what it termed a “conservative” appraisal of the impact of the Dec. 26 storm on business Sunday and Monday.
“As expected, the 2010 blizzard throughout the Northeast halted nearly all retail visits and spending during a period that is fairly crucial for retailers,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak’s co-founder. “And at this point, the prospect of momentarily pausing a potential $1 billion in sales has the collective industry holding its breath.”
The company estimated the storm took an 11.2 percent bite out of the traffic anticipated for Dec. 26. While year-on-year traffic fell 6.1 percent in the Northeast, the average increase in traffic in the Midwest, South and West was 38.6 percent.
The impact on business on Monday was more severe, reducing total traffic 13.9 percent, with a 42.9 percent drop in the Northeast, more than offsetting increases averaging 13 percent in the other three regions.
Preliminary estimates of GAFO — general merchandise, apparel and accessories, furniture and other categories — sales for the two-day stretch were $10 billion. Although much of the lost business could be reclaimed as consumers resume their normal routines, any irretrievable volume could cut into December sales and retailers’ ability to minimize inventories, putting a damper on fourth-quarter and year-end earnings. Nonetheless, ShopperTrak reaffirmed its estimate for a 4 percent rise in sales and a 1.8 percent increase in traffic for the two-month holiday period.
Any fears the stock market had about the storm’s impact seemed to dissipate Wednesday, though. The S&P Retail Index Wednesday added 1.63 points, or 0.3 percent, to end the day at 510.72. The percentage increase beat out the 9.84 point, or 0.1 percent, increase of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which sat at 11,585.38 at the end of the trading day after hitting a fresh 52-week high of 11,625 in the early afternoon.
ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate put the decline in sales Christmas week at 4.1 percent, with traffic off 6.8 percent in the U.S., but the culprit in this case was the calendar rather than Mother Nature. Christmas week data for last year included Dec. 26, which in 2009 was the third strongest sales day and the second biggest traffic day of the year. Data for Christmas week this year was through Christmas Day, Dec. 25, and the following day, a Sunday, wasn’t included in the estimate.
ShopperTrak projected that, with the storm’s impact, Dec. 26 is expected to fall to 10th in rank among the 365 days of the year in both sales and traffic. Meanwhile, Dec. 23, dubbed Father’s Day by ShopperTrak because of the preponderance of men engaged in last-minute shopping, generated $7.86 billion in sales, behind only Black Friday ($10.69 billion). Last year, Dec. 23, with $7.55 billion in sales, finished behind only Black Friday in as well.
Martin told WWD he expects a strong comeback in the aftermath of the storm.
“I suspect the drop in traffic won’t be as dramatic as people might think,” he said. “Historically, when there’s a weather event, a lot of the business comes back, and we advise our clients to staff up accordingly. People come back to buy better gloves and scarves, and better snow removal equipment. We’ve seen this pattern both regionally and nationally.”
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews