Wintry weather in much of the country had only a slight impact on last week’s sales, which declined from the prior week while rising versus the comparable 2014 period.
According to The Retail Economist LLC and Goldman Sachs, the sequential decline in sales was 0.2 percent while the year-on-year comparison was ahead 2.1 percent during the seven days ended Feb. 21.
In the prior week, sequential sales grew 1.8 percent and were up 2.3 percent from the year-ago number.
“Despite the extreme cold over about three-quarters of the country and substantially higher amounts of snow nationwide during the past week compared with the same time last year, sales were only marginally impacted,” said Michael Niemira, chief economist and principal of The Retail Economist. “February monthly sales are tracking somewhat soft relative to recent trends, but the month typically tends to have low sales volume and [is] easily impacted by adverse weather. Retailers should see a bounce back as spring begins to roll in late next month.”
Weather Trends International noted that temperatures were an average of 13.4 degrees colder than last year during the period and 8.9 degrees colder than their long-term average, making the week “the coldest in more than 25 years across the eastern half of the nation and the second snowiest in 25 years, too.”
Temperatures in the western U.S. remained “incredibly mild,” WTI said.
Niemira said business last week was strong at dollar stores, drug stores, wholesale clubs and discount stores and healthy at department and electronics stores. There were smaller gains for apparel, furniture and grocery stores, he said.
While up in recent weeks, gasoline prices remained about a third below year-ago levels.