We’re starting to get the damage report from the weekend’s snowstorm on the east coast, in terms of how it affected holiday sales, and it’s not very good. From the Journal:
The conditions cost retailers an estimated $2 billion in sales, according to weather consultancy Planalytics, which devises its estimate by modeling sales for a clear day and subtracting sales from stores based on how affected they were by the weather.
Michael Niemira, chief economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers, says there was a significant hit to sales this weekend, but some of the sales may have shifted online and others to periods before and after the storm.
“Super Saturday,” the last Saturday before Christmas, saw $15.1 billion in sales last year, according to Mastercard Inc.’s SpendingPulse unit.
“Retailers got hit right at crunch time,” says Todd Slater of Lazard Capital Markets.
Retailers are now hoping for a last-minute surge of shoppers before Friday, as more than 40% of consumers still have shopping to do, more than double last year’s figure at this time, according to a survey from America’s Research Group and UBS.
Remember, nobody expects holiday sales this year to be any great shakes to begin with. If sales are up from a year ago, well, they’re coming off the worst holiday season in four decades. If they’re flat, or even down as the National Retail Federation expects, then that’s even worse.