Snowstorm takes toll on US after-holiday shopping
The blizzard that swept through the Northeast on Sunday and Monday delayed $1 billion in retail spending for the U.S. economy, according to research released Wednesday by ShopperTrak, but that slowdown won’t derail a holiday shopping season expected to be the best since 2007.
The effect won’t be as bad as last year’s pre-Christmas snowstorm that similarly paralyzed parts of the East Coast. That cost retailers an estimated $2 billion, according to weather research firm Planalytics.
About $10 billion in retail sales usually occurs Dec. 26-27, ShopperTrak says. Bad weather likely delayed about 10 percent of that in the U.S.
The storm’s effects weren’t enough to change ShopperTrak’s estimate for a 4 percent gain over last year in revenue for the Nov. 1-Dec. 31 holiday season. Retailers will still see much of the spending when shoppers return to stores as streets are cleared and transportation restored.
This year’s storm cost retailers 11.2 percent of their foot traffic Sunday and 13.9 percent Monday, ShopperTrak estimates.
The fact that the day after Christmas fell on a Sunday this year might have hurt sales a bit even where it didn’t snow, ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said, because of local laws that limit or ban Sunday hours in some places.