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Tuesday, November 10, 2015 11:25 AM

Economists Blame Mild Weather For Poor Retail Sales

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Goldilocks Weather Bad For Shopping

Weather in the past two months has generally been unseasonably pleasant.

Economists say this is bad for shopping as Redbook's Same Store Sales Report shows retail sales year-over year are only up 1.1%.

Sales in Redbook's same-store sample slowed sharply in the November 7 week, to a year-on-year plus 1.1 percent from an already moderate 1.9 percent in the prior week. Unseasonably warm weather has been hurting sales of seasonal goods, which could be a factor in Friday's retail sales report for October. Turning back to November and this report, readings in the early part of the month will be forgotten as attention turns to the holiday kickoff late in the month.


Redbook is a weekly measure of comparable store sales at chain stores, discounters, and department stores. Figures for the first week of the month are compared with the average for the entire previous month. When two weeks are available, then these are compared with the average for the previous month, and so on through the month. It might be more useful to compare year-over-year figures since these are indeed compared to the comparable week a year ago. This index is correlated with the general merchandise portion of retail sales covering about 10 percent of total retail sales.
Weather Comments

Apparently, weather needs to be just right, not for comfort levels, but to induce shoppers to buy. Supposedly, it's important that weather not be too good. Colder weather would be good now, but colder weather in January won't be.

I propose comparing weekly retail sales to the same week as last year or to the monthly average a year ago is essentially meaningless, if not outright ridiculous.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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