U.S. SEPTEMBER 2011 SUMMARY: Warmer than normal conditions were prominent at the start and end of the month, while the middle of the month brought a taste of Fall to the North Central and East. The West, however, managed to stay warm and dry through most of the month with more Summer-like weather in many areas that were cool during the Summer months. The Northwest was unusually dry as well as the South Central states where severe drought conditions are ongoing. The Northeast was the complete opposite as the rain was seemingly endless. The 1st day of the retail September was marked by Hurricane Irene making landfall in New Jersey and near New York City before accelerating to the north. Widespread power outages and flooding were reported from NJ to ME in Irene’s wake as +6” of rain fell over a vast area. As residents and businesses were finishing clean-up from Irene, another pesky tropical disturbance, Tropical Storm Lee, formed in the Gulf of Mexico. Lee dumped flooding rain from Louisiana northward along the Appalachian Mountains into the Northeast. For some in the Northeast Lee was the straw that broke the camel’s back as additional +6” of rain caused swollen rivers to spill over their banks resulting in some of the worst flooding since Hurricane Agnes in 1972. Following Lee, the faucet could not be shut off in the Northeast as a parade of stalled frontal boundaries kept the region shrouded in clouds and showers for a majority of the time.
Hurricane Irene resulted in at least 1 day of lost retail trade at the very start of the month as many businesses shut their doors as she made landfall in the Northeast. Home centers and discounters gained the most from Irene as clean-up supplies, portable generators and bottled water were in high demand. Mall-based stores and discounters will have had a negative impact from Irene as consumers shifted their focus from apparel shopping to storm necessities. Clean-up categories like wet/dry vacuums, tarps, and paint will have continued to be strong through at least the middle of September as remnants from Tropical Storm Lee caused more flooding. Warm, moist air in the East was abruptly replaced with much colder, Fall-like weather during Week 3 which was a huge positive for Fall seasonal categories. The cold weather extended into part of Week 4 helping to drive demand for items like fire logs, hot soups, and mouse traps in the North Central states. Fall categories were a hard sell in the West where warm and dry weather favored Summer consumables like ice cream, cold beverages, sun care, car wash/wax, and other outdoor categories.
U.K. SEPTEMBER 2011 SUMMARY: Following an abnormally cool Summer, temperatures finally turned warmer than normal in the U.K. The 1st and 2nd weeks trended warmer than normal, but the biggest story was the very mild weather during the final week of the month which sent people flocking to the beaches to soak up the warm and dry weather. More Autumn-like weather could be found during the 3rd and 4th weeks of the month when temperatures were closer to normal. While much of England and Wales trended drier than last year, areas to the north saw more unsettled weather including a few tropical disturbances. Remnants from Hurricane Irene brought heavy rain and wind to Scotland during the 1st week of September. During the middle of the month, Post-Tropical Storm Katia brought more heavy rain and severe gales to Scotland, Northern England and Ireland. Katia caused localized flooding in central Scotland and some power outages.
Unfortunately the arrival of more Summer-like weather in late September is a negative for retail sales as this time of year is focused on Autumn categories and drier weather in September is a negative for footfall as consumers spend more time outdoors instead of shopping. Luckily, there was pent-up demand for many warm weather categories like ice cream, cold beverages, and sun care following a cool, dreary Summer. The final week of the month will have seen double to even triple digit surges in demand for Summer consumables. More seasonable weather during weeks 3 and 4 provided opportunities for Autumn categories, although demand will have been softer during week 3 as temperatures were warmer than last year. Flooding and damage from the various tropical disturbances in the North of the U.K. will have increased footfall at home centers and demand for clean-up categories.
G-20 SEPTEMBER 2011 SUMMARY: G-20 temperatures trended +1.1C warmer than last year with a majority of the warmer weather in Europe, Russia and Canada. Europe was warm and dry for much of September with Summer-like conditions prevailing. Despite the abnormally warm weather, parts of the Alps recorded their earliest snowfall on record around mid-month. Cooler weather presided over eastern China, Mongolia, South Aftrica, and parts of the Middle East. Typhoon Talas struck Japan early in the month and was the deadliest cyclone to hit the country since 2004. Hong Kong’s stock market and businesses shut down as Typhoon Nesat brought threatening weather late in September. Monsoon rains across Pakistan and Thailand caused flooding and destroyed millions of acres of cropland.
Very warm and settled weather in Europe favored Summer consumables over more seasonal Autumn categories. Milder weather in Canada delayed the start of the season for Autumn categories. Seasonal categories were more favorable in places like eastern China and Mongolia where temperatures trended cooler than last year. Businesses in Japan and parts of China, including Hong Kong, experienced at least 1 day of disruption as Typhoon’s Talas and Nesat, respectively, brought flooding rain and damaging winds. Clean-up supplies will have seen a rise in demand in the cyclones’ wake.
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