Brick-and-mortar retailers are keenly aware of how the weather affects store traffic and, ultimately, customer spending. Cold, stormy weather on Black Friday could very well keep shoppers snug at home, wrapped up in a warm blanket, shopping with the laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
The other side of that coin — cold, stormy weather a few days before Black Friday — reminds shoppers that the unseasonably warm weather they’ve had for the past month or so is really going to change and they had better get those coats, gloves, hats, and snow blowers before the winter really hits.
It looks like the forecast for the coming week favors the second scenario, at least in the eastern half of the United States. According to the analysts at Planalytics, a business weather intelligence firm, colder weather will begin moving east from the Great Plains this weekend, lowering temperatures and bringing some snow along with the colder temperatures.
As the holiday approaches wet weather could make holiday travel more difficult in the west and Great Plains, gradually moving into the northeastern states. The southeast is expected to continue dry, if a bit cooler.
Colder than normal temperatures on the east coast, in the Ohio River valley, and in the southeast should get shoppers in the mood to spend on cold weather gear. And the weather for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday? Here’s what Planalytics forecasts:
From Thanksgiving Day through the Black Friday weekend these markets transition to a more seasonal regime, but temperatures will trend much colder than [last year]. The colder comparisons in the eastern U.S. will drive the strongest opportunities for year-over-year growth in seasonal apparel and consumables. Temperatures across the Plains, Rockies, and West Coast will trend warmer than normal and [last year] throughout the week. The warmer conditions will challenge demand for cold weather merchandise.
In the week before Thanksgiving last year, temperatures were near normal across the country and Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday were the warmest since 2012 and the wettest since 2010. Black Friday was the warmest since 2011 and the wettest in more than 15 years with rain and snow covering the U.S. interior. The four-day weekend was the warmest since 2012 and the wettest since 2000.
What might that mean for retailers? According to Planalytics, weather-driven demand for fleece garments will rise 1% this year with demand in Cincinnati rising 8% and demand in Baltimore rising 3%. Demand for fleece clothing is forecast to fall 8% in Dallas and 11% in San Francisco.