In-store traffic fell 8.1 percent year over year in September. But the drop in traffic was actually the smallest decrease seen since January in the retail industry, according to RetailNext's monthly Performance Pulse.
After shopping conversions into purchases were increasing all year, they fell 0.1 percent in September, which contributed to an 8.7 percent drop in sales for the month. The drop was the largest since April, even though consumer confidence was higher than in August and economic indicators were positive.
The first part of the month, which encompassed Labor Day, was strong. However, warm temperatures later in the month—the warmest weather in more than 55 years—delayed consumer interest in purchasing fall fashions. Then, hurricane-related stormy weather slowed sales in the southeast part of the country, although drove up the purchase of emergency preparedness items on the East Coast.
Although all regions in the country suffered, the largest dip in sales occurred in the Midwest, down 11.5 percent.
The first Saturday of the month, Sept. 5, earned the most sales, indicating a big push in Labor Day and back-to-school shopping. The day after Labor Day, Sept. 8, was the lowest day for sales, traffic and transactions, and the day of highest returns.
Sales also dipped in August, 2 percent, driven in large part by a late Labor Day. In fact, as of Aug. 19, only half of back-to-school shopping had been completed, with many consumers waiting for the Labor Day weekend sales.
-See this RetailNext report
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