Retail Traffic Down 7.5 Percent During Government Shutdown

A new ShopperTrak report shows that the 16-day government shutdown may be to blame for an overall decrease in shopper foot traffic at the beginning of October. Shopper analytics show that total retail store shopper traffic during the week of September 29 to October 5 decreased 7.5 percent compared to the same time period last year. The Washington, D.C. area saw an even greater decrease, with an 11.4 percent decline in year-over-year shopper traffic the week of October 6-12.

"The furlough of hundreds of thousands of federal workers caused an inevitable decline in consumer visits to retail stores in the first half of October," said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. Martin added that the end of the shutdown, which will retroactively pay furloughed employees, "holds promise for a resurgence in shopper activity" in the coming weeks.

Traffic had started to decline before the shutdown, the ShopperTrak report said, with a decline of 4.7 percent and 5 percent in the third and fourth weeks of September, respectively, compared with last year. In addition to impacting the retail industry, analysts at Standard and Poor's and Moody's Analytics have estimated that the government shutdown will cost the country at least $23 million in lost economic output. These figures take into account past economic behavior, in addition to the number of federal employees and contractors who were furloughed without pay during the shutdown.

For more see:
-This Women's Wear Daily article
-This Chain Store Age article

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