Home » Coldest Holiday In 20 Years Helped Put Seasonal Items In Customer Baskets

Coldest Holiday In 20 Years Helped Put Seasonal Items In Customer Baskets

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Business estimates from the Black Friday weekend are emerging, and they are indicating a solid start to the holiday shopping season. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), there were more than 141 million unique shoppers who visited stores and websites over the long weekend, representing a 1.4 percent increase over last year. This includes 45 million shoppers on Thanksgiving Day, a 27 percent increase over last year. Total estimated spending for the entire weekend topped $57 billion, with the average shopper spending 4 percent less than last year.

According to ShopperTrak, retail sales on Thursday and Friday rose 2.3 percent over last year to $12.3 billion. While sales on Black Friday were estimated to be down compared to last year, this can mostly be attributed to the increase in sales that took place on Thanksgiving Day itself. According to the NRF, 37 percent of all shoppers were at stores before midnight on Black Friday, compared to 28 percent last year. Black Friday remained the biggest day of the weekend, with an estimated 92 million shopping for apparel, electronics and more to put in their baskets, up from nearly 89 million last year, the NRF reports.

“Cold weather, unique promotions and unbeatable prices put millions of Americans in the mood to shop for holiday gifts this weekend,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

An early-week storm provided notable travel disruptions throughout much of the U.S. leading up to Thanksgiving; however, Mother Nature gave businesses a gift by providing cold and dry weather for most major markets throughout the weekend. The cold and dry weather was not only favorable for seasonal apparel, but also an ideal scenario that supported foot traffic into businesses.

According to business weather intelligence company Planalytics, Thanksgiving Day was the coldest since 1993, and driest since 2002 with below normal snowfall.

Several major markets had their coldest Thanksgiving Day in more than 50 years—including Atlanta, Nashville, Cincinnati, New Orleans and Orlando. Detroit was coldest since 1989, Houston since 1992. Elsewhere, New York City, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Chicago each had their coldest Thanksgiving Day since 2002.

Overall, it was significantly colder than Thanksgiving Day last year, which was the warmest since 1998.

Across the entire U.S., the 2013 Black Friday weekend (Nov. 28-Dec. 1) was the coldest in four years. The Mid-Atlantic, New England and East North Central regions had their coldest Black Friday weekend in more than 15 years, and the South Atlantic region was coldest since 2002. New York City, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Charlotte and New Orleans are just a few of the major markets that had their coldest Black Friday weekend in more than 15 years. Boston was coldest since 2000, while Detroit, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Nashville and Richmond were each coldest since 2002.

The cold temperatures provided an ideal scenario for businesses and helped drive demand for seasonal categories such as sweaters, jackets, knitwear, gloves and hats, Planalytics says. The dry conditions also were ideal for foot traffic into shopping centers. Restaurants also experienced favorable foot traffic, and the below normal temperatures supported demand for hot foods and drinks.

Precipitation over Black Friday weekend was very limited, and focused in the Pacific and West South Central regions. The Mid-Atlantic region had its driest Black Friday weekend in more than 15 years. While snow and ice early in the week drove need-based purchases, the Black Friday weekend had below normal snowfall. Dry conditions were helpful for consumers to put up outdoor holiday decorations.

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Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Chicago, Illinois
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