APT Index: Overall March Retail Sales Comps Decline -1.8%, Despite Improving Economy; Restaurant Sales Flat

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Higher Income Consumers Shopping Less Than Lower Income Consumers

Applied Predictive Technologies (APT) today announced that U.S. retail sales for the month of March fell [-1.8%] nationwide. The decrease was driven by fewer transactions in March 2014, as compared to March 2013.

Retail sales comps decreased for both high and low income groups during March, even with the improving economy. However, the decrease in sales was much larger in higher income areas: areas with median income $75,000 or greater saw a [-2.0%] decrease, while areas with median income less than $75,000 saw a [-0.9%] decrease. Restaurant sales comps followed a similar trend in the high income group, but the difference between income groups was larger. Areas with median income $75,000 or greater saw a [-1.1%] decrease, whereas areas with median income less than $75,000 actually saw a [+1.6%] increase.

The APT Index includes a subset of APT’s $2 trillion in sales data, or $1 of every $5 of U.S. retail sales. The Index aggregates data from sales registers at over 50,000 locations across the U.S. 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 retail sales. As a result, the APT Index provides the most definitive and accurate analysis of retail sales available.

March Retail Sales – by APT Index numbers:

The big picture

  •     Overall nationwide sales: [-1.8%]
  •     Number of transactions: [-3.2%]

At a more granular level, the APT Index shows that areas with certain characteristics were impacted more in March. Among these characteristics, median income and rainfall had the largest impact.

Impact of median income on retail sales

  •     In areas with median income less than $75,000, sales fell [-0.9%]
  •     In areas with median income $75,000 or greater, sales fell [-2.0%]

Impact of rainfall on retail sales

  •     In areas where it rained 5 days or less, sales fell [-0.8%]
  •     In areas where it rained more than 5 days, sales fell [-2.4%]

Metro areas most affected
The Top 25 metro areas where retailers performed the best in March were: Denver, CO with a [+2.9%] increase in sales comps; Atlanta, GA with a [+1.7%] increase; and Tampa, FL with a [+1.4%] increase. The areas where retailers performed the worst were: New York, NY [-7.4%], Baltimore, MD [-5.2%], and Washington, D.C. [-4.2%]. Similarly, restaurant sales comps were down in New York, NY [-5.2%], Washington, D.C. [-4.0%], and Philadelphia, PA [-4.0%].

[All figures are a year-over-year, same-location comparison from March 2014 to March 2013, adjusted for consistent weekdays.]

Anthony Bruce, CEO of APT, said, “The APT Index allows us to understand how the retail economy is performing. Although the economy appears to be improving overall, March retail sales comps are still down [-1.8%]. We see that this decrease in retail sales comps is consistent with decreases in January and February.’”

Bruce added, “Using the APT Index, we can provide the industry’s most definitive retail comps data at the macro level as well as for each local market. 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 retail executives 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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