APT Index: After Strong January, Harsh Weather Dampens February Same-Store Retail Sales [-0.9%]

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February “Cold Snap” Causes Retail Sales to Decline 15% or More

Applied Predictive Technologies (APT) today announced that the APT Index of in-store retail sales for February 2015 decreased [-0.9%] compared with February of last year. The decrease was driven by a decrease in the number of transactions [-1.8%], as poor weather deterred shoppers. The APT Index of General Merchandise sales decreased [-2.1%] and the APT Index of Apparel sales was down [-0.6%].

The APT Index showed a high cost of harsh weather for retailers in February. In areas where temperatures were colder than last year and that had more snow days, retail sales fell significantly. Sales were especially impacted during the February “Cold Snap”*, where some areas saw the APT Index of Retail sales decline by [-14.9%] or worse. The cities that were impacted most in February were Boston, MA, Dallas, TX, and Pittsburgh, PA. While sales decreased in areas with poor weather, sales comps were positive in areas with better weather than last year.

Patrick O’Reilly, APT President & COO, said, “Many areas had very cold temperatures in February, which had a huge impact on retail sales. It’s often difficult for retailers to determine how much of their performance is due to uncontrollable factors in the environment, such as weather. By analyzing APT Index sales comps for the area surrounding each specific store location, retailers can confidently attribute poor performance to the weather and determine their true level of performance for each store, adjusted for weather and other external factors.”

O’Reilly continued, “Overall, the APT Index helps retailers create location-level benchmarks, understand the impact of major events and national initiatives, and explain performance to investors.”

February Retail Sales – by APT Index numbers:

The Big Picture

  •     APT Index of Retail sales: [-0.9%], driven by a decrease in the number of transactions [-1.8%]
  •     APT Index of General Merchandise sales: [-2.1%]
  •     APT Index of Apparel sales: [-0.6%]

Colder Temperatures Discourage Shoppers

  •     In areas where temperature decreased 5 degrees or more from last year, sales suffered: APT Index retail sales decreased [-2.9%], general merchandise sales decreased [-3.0%], and apparel sales decreased [-5.7%]
  •     In areas where temperature decreased 0 to 5 degrees from last year, sales fell: APT Index retail sales decreased [-2.4%], general merchandise sales decreased [-2.7%], and apparel sales decreased [-3.2%]
  •     In areas where temperature increased from last year, sales performed well: APT Index retail sales increased [+2.8%] and apparel sales increased [+8.4%]; however, general merchandise sales decreased [-1.1%]

Snow Days Hurt Retail Sales

  •     In areas that had 5 or more snow days, sales fell: APT Index retail sales decreased [-3.3%], general merchandise sales decreased [-4.6%], and apparel sales decreased [-3.4%]
  •     In areas that had 1 to 4 snow days, sales declined: APT Index retail sales decreased [-1.4%], general merchandise sales decreased [-2.5%], and apparel sales decreased [-1.4%]
  •     In areas that had no snow, sales were up: APT Index retail sales increased [+2.5%], general merchandise sales increased [+0.4%], and apparel sales increased [+5.4%]

Unusually Cold Temperatures During 3rd Week in February–the February “Cold Snap”*–Lead to Large Sales Declines

  •     In areas where temperature decreased during the week compared to last year, APT Index retail sales declined [-14.9%], compared with retail sales comps of [-2.7%] in areas where temperature increased
  •     In areas that had 5 or more snow days during the week, APT Index retail sales declined [-17.1%], compared with retail sales comps of [-2.1%] in areas with no snow

Major Cities with the Lowest Retail Sales Comps in February**

  •     Boston, MA retail sales fell [-9.4%]
  •     Dallas, TX retail sales fell [-7.1%]
  •     Pittsburgh, PA retail sales fell [-4.1%]

Major Cities with the Highest Retail Sales Comps in February**

  •     Portland, OR retail sales increased [+11.6%]
  •     Seattle, WA retail sales increased [+6.2%]
  •     San Diego, CA retail sales increased [+5.5%]

The APT Index aggregates data from sales registers at over 100,000 stores across the U.S. to show how year-over-year performance changes for same-store sales in the physical channel. Unlike other sources, the APT Index is based on actual sales data, allowing APT to make statistically significant observations about retail sales. As a result, we believe the APT Index provides the most definitive, accurate, and geographically-targeted analysis of sales available.

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

*All February “Cold Snap” figures are a year-over-year, same-store comparison for 2/15/2015-2/21/2015 to 2/16/2014-2/22/2014

**Cities chosen from the top 25 metro areas as defined by the Core Based Statistical Area (CBSA) from the U.S. Census

About APT
APT is a leading cloud-based predictive analytics software company. APT’s Test & Learn® software is revolutionizing the way 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 features some of the world’s best known brands, including Walmart, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Victoria’s Secret, American Family, Hilton Hotels, SUBWAY, TD Bank, T-Mobile, and others. APT has offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, London, Bentonville, Taipei, Tokyo, and Sydney. Visit http://www.predictivetechnologies.com to learn more.

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Cathy Baker
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