U.S. AUGUST 2010 SUMMARY: More of the same with the long, hot Summer continuing for much of the country. It was the hottest August in 15 years and driest in 4 which is a big negative for back-to-school and early Fall categories. While the Eastern half of the U.S. baked, it was actually the coldest August in over 20 years for California as their very cool Summer continued (click here to see the regional summary chart).
While a warm August is historically favorable for overall retail same-store-sales (SSS), it's not favorable when the prior months were so hot leaving little Summer merchandise left to sell. This had consumers flocking to the beach, lake or pool with few, if any, triggers to put them in the Fall mindset and will likely lead to retail industry sales coming in on the low end or below expectations when results are announced Thursday. There were 5 tropical systems in August (1 Tropical Depression, 2 Tropical Storms, 2 Major Hurricanes) but only Earl was threatening the U.S. late in the month with little impact to the retail calendar August. A day-by-day summary of August compared to last year is depicted in the national summary chart (click here to view).
U.K. AUGUST 2010 SUMMARY: The warmth and sunshine of July quickly faded in August, mainly for the southern U.K., as temperatures trended the coldest in 3 years. Rainfall totals tied 1999 for the 3rd wettest retail August in 18+ years with southern and eastern England and Wales seeing the greatest change towards wetter year-on-year weather. Flash flooding was reported across England and Wales following several heavy rain events with rainfall rates around 2.5cm per hour in some areas. Drier weather could be found to the north, in Scotland and in Ireland. Cooler y-o-y conditions persisted throughout the month with all 4 weeks of the retail August trending colder than last year (see the national summary chart here).
Cool, rainy and windy conditions made the final full month of Summer feel more like Autumn and helped to spur demand for Autumn categories, especially in England and Wales. The weather was very favorable for sales of jeans, lightweight jackets and boots as consumers got into the Autumn mindset. Open air shopping centres and outdoor categories would have struggled this month in the southern U.K. as very wet weather kept consumers indoors. The week prior to the Summer Bank Holiday was the coldest and wettest of the month which was detrimental for Summer consumables and clearance like cold beverages, picnic foods, outdoor leisure and DIY items. Meanwhile, drier y-o-y weather in Scotland and Ireland was excellent for outdoor categories. Initial reports indicate a rise in consumer confidence for the retail month of August, which will help to boost overall retail sales, although confidence remains well below the long-term average. Autumn-like weather was another positive for the month as it got Autumn seasonal categories off to a healthy start. Easy comparisons to last year will also help overall U.K. retail sales to come out on the positive side.
G-20 AUGUST 2010 SUMMARY: It was the warmest in 7 years and 2nd wettest in 20 for the G-20 countries as a whole. Turkey and Russia showed the greatest changes toward much hotter weather with record heat while Argentina showed the greatest change toward much colder Winter weather. The big winners from the heat across much of the Northern Hemisphere were the beverage companies who can get a 2% bounce in sales for every 1F warmer year-over-year. There was some cold weather in Central Europe benefiting early Autumn category sales but overall back-to-school, back-to-work and early Autumn category sales suffered. The extreme heat also created spikes in wheat and corn prices while extreme flooding in Pakistan caused sugar and cotton prices to spike as well. Click to view the global summary temperature and precipitation maps. Overall global tropical cyclone activity was near a 30-year low but the Atlantic basin was clearly becoming very active with 5 systems developing.
For a complete business-weather roundup click on the links below for a detailed PDF summary report:
U.S. August 2010 Retail Business Weather Summary Report
U.K. August 2010 Retail Business Weather Summary Report
G-20 August 2010 Retail Business Weather Summary Report
Bill Kirk, CEO & Co-Founder Weather Trends International
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About Weather Trends International: The global leader of actionable year-ahead business weather guidance for retailers, manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, agricultural firms, financial equity and commodity analysts. Clients include some of the world’s most respected and successful companies like Wal-Mart, ASDA, Target, Kohl’s, AutoZone, Sherwin-Williams, Anheuser-Busch, Johnson & Johnson, 3M, SC Johnson, JP Morgan, Agway, Hershey’s and over a hundred fifty others. Its business centric weather solutions and understanding of how consumers respond to the weather is used throughout organizations to help "manage the weather risk”. Utilizing technology first developed in the early 1990s, Weather Trends International’s unique statistical math based trade secret formula forecasting methodology projects temperature, precipitation and snowfall trends by day and week a year-ahead for 720,000 locations across the globe (all 195 countries) with an industry leading 75% to 95% accuracy. WTI is recipient of 6 business/technology awards this year: 2009 winner of the Red Herring North America technology award, 2009 winner of the American Business Award for Most Innovative Company of the Year, International Business Award for Most Innovative Company of the Year in North America and Forbes #5 Most Promising Company of the year. Offices in Bethlehem, PA, and Bentonville, AR. Visit http://www.wxtrends.com/
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