APT Index: “Polar Vortex” Shrinks Retail Sales -10% Nationwide

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-16% decline where temperature fell more than 10°F; Detroit, MI (-45%), Chicago, IL (-41%), and New York, NY (-15%) among hardest hit. Older shoppers stayed home, driving bigger decline.

Applied Predictive Technologies (APT) today announced an analysis of retail sales across the United States during this month’s “Polar Vortex,” using data from the APT Index. The APT Index shows a -9.6% decrease in nationwide retail sales during the Polar Vortex of January 5th through January 7th, compared to the same weekdays last year. The decrease was driven by fewer transactions, as fewer shoppers braved the cold to go shopping.

The APT Index includes a subset of APT’s $2 trillion in sales data, or $1 of every $5 of US retail sales. The Index aggregates data from sales registers at over 50,000+ locations across the US to show how year-over-year performance changes for same store sales in the physical channel for retail. Unlike other sources, which use consumer survey data, the APT Index is based on reported sales data, allowing APT to make statistically significant observations about sales trends. As a result, the APT Index provides the most definitive and accurate retail sales analysis available.

The Polar Vortex – by APT Index numbers:

The big picture

  •     Overall nationwide sales: -9.6%
  •     Number of transactions: -11.0%

At a more granular level, the APT Index shows that areas with certain characteristics were impacted more by the Polar Vortex. Among these characteristics, the magnitude of the temperature drop and median age had the largest impact.

Impact of the temperature drop on retail sales

  •     In areas with a greater than 10°F drop in temperature, sales fell -15.5%
  •     In areas with a less than 10°F drop in temperature, sales fell -2.9%

Metro areas most affected

The Top 25 metro areas where retail sales were hit the hardest during the Polar Vortex included Detroit, MI (-45.0%), Chicago, IL (-40.5%), and New York, NY (-15.1%). The APT Index also includes data on other areas around the country.

Impact of median age

  •     In areas where the median age was less than 35 years, sales fell -8.3%
  •     In areas where the median age was greater than 35 years, sales fell -12.2%

[All figures are a year-over-year, same-store comparison between January 5th through January 7th, 2014 and the same weekdays of 2013.]

Anthony Bruce, CEO of APT, said, “This winter’s extreme cold clearly put the freeze on January sales, but retailers now have the tools to specifically identify how, when, and where such factors affect the bottom line. It is critical for retailers to understand how much of a store’s performance is due to controllable actions and how much is a result of other circumstances in a store’s local area.”

Bruce added, “Using the APT Index, we can provide the industry’s most definitive retail comps data for major weather events, at the macro level as well as for each local market. The APT Index shows how small changes in factors like the weather can dramatically impact store comps. The APT Index is one of the most robust and accurate ways for retailers to answer questions such as: What should any given store’s performance be, based on how nearby stores are doing? How can we determine if some stores are really over- or under-performing, or if their performance is due to what’s happening in their local area? How do we perform compared to surrounding stores when we run a national ad campaign? We are seeing a lot of excitement among retailers in using the APT Index to answer these and other mission critical questions.”

For more information, visit: http://www.predictivetechnologies.com.

About APT

APT is the world’s largest purely cloud-based predictive analytics software company. APT’s Test & Learn software is revolutionizing the way Global 2000 companies harness their Big Data to accurately measure the profit impact of pricing, marketing, merchandising, operations, and capital initiatives, tailoring investments in these areas to maximize ROI. APT’s client portfolio includes Walmart, Staples, Lowe’s, SunTrust, Hilton Hotels, and others. APT has offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, London, Taipei and Tokyo. Visit http://www.predictivetechnologies.com to learn more.

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Cathy Baker
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