January retail sales traffic was down 7 percent year-over-year, due in large part to harsh winter weather across the country. However, the length of an average shopping trip was up 14 percent from last year, showing that lowered foot traffic encouraged longer visits in physical stores.
According to Euclid's monthly retail report of shopper activity, sales of general merchandise, apparel, furniture and other products declined slightly by 1.3 percent. But sales in clothing and apparel specifically were up for the month of January by 1.7 percent.
Winter storms amplified a shift in shopping from physical stores to online and mobile in the month of January. Storefront conversion was up 1 percent, but down significantly from December's holiday rush. So while the average duration of a shopping visit increased 14 percent, the extra minutes spent in the store did not translate into additional dollars spent.
The best shopping day of the month was Saturday, Jan. 10. Shoppers spent more time in stores and bounced less than other days in January. On the other hand, Friday, Jan. 9 was the worst shopping day of the month. Traffic and repeat shoppers were down on this day, so was the length of a shopping visit.
Looking into February, according to Breton Birkhofer, client success manager, Euclid Analytics, store traffic leading up to Valentine's Day will likely decline from last year, especially with all of the stormy weather in the Northeast. However, spending is still expected to increase from last year, due in large part to online and mobile purchases.
Foot traffic was down substantially in retail stores leading up to the 2014 holidays. In November, traffic dropped 20 percent from the prior year. And it looks like declining foot traffic will be a continuing trend in 2015, especially when it comes to shopping in malls.
-See this Euclid report
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What's in store for retail in 2015
November foot traffic drops 20% from last year
September retail traffic down 17% from last year
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