Warmer weather limited demand for seasonal apparel last week, but weekly sales managed to advance on both a year-over-year and sequential basis.
The International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs chain store sales index rose 2.8 percent to 556.8 during the week ended Oct. 25. Weighed against the prior week, the increase was 0.3 percent, only the second sequential boost since the end of September.
“Business over the past week was strong at department stores, wholesale clubs and electronics stores,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC research consultant and principal of The Retail Economist LLC. “While the receding gasoline prices may not have a massive impact week to week, the cumulative effect should strong benefit the upcoming holiday shopping season as consumers should have additional discretionary income.”
That didn’t help grocery and specialty stores last week, which reported weaker sales trends.
Nor did retail sales benefit from the weather which, after being cooler than average during the week ended Oct. 18, moderated last week, producing the warmest third week of October in 23 years, according to Weather Trends International.
Based on decelerating sales trends, Niemira now expects the small sample of companies that report comparable sales on a monthly basis to register a median increase in the range of 3 to 4 percent, reduced from an earlier projection of an increase of 3.5 to 4.5 percent.