Sandy Pushes Down Retail Sales in November

Written by: John Landers

The Johnson Redbook Index reports that national chain store retail sales decreased 0.6 % in the first week of November compared to October. The firm predicted a 0.7% gain. In addition, Redbook Research reports the seasonally adjusted sales index increased 0.8% versus the same period in 2011 – well below the expected gain of 2.1%

According to Redbook, “last-minute” Halloween shopping by consumer resulted in increased customer traffic and sales. In addition, the run on supplies, such as food, water, batteries, flashlights, generators, and other preparedness items residents required to make it through Hurricane Sandy, spurred sales at retailers who specialized in those goods. Discount stores especially benefited from the run on goods.

As expected, the super storm, slowed business in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Retailers across the nations report “soft sales” as consumers have turned their attention to the upcoming presidential election.

October Retail Sales

Retails sales increased 2.7% in October, over the same period last year, and in line with the expectations of most of the 17 major retailers polled in the Thompson Reuter survey. Subtracting drugstores data retails sales soared 4.7%, which exceeded expectations of a 4.3% increase.

Retailers that fared well in October included the following store chains:

  • Nordstrom – 9.8%
  • TJX Cos. –  7%
  • Costco Wholesale Corp. – 7%
  • Macy’s Inc. –  4.1%
  • Kohl’s Corp. – 3.3%


Target posted gains of 2.4% for the month, falling short of the 3.2% increased it expected.


The Thomson Reuters survey measure same-store- sales  (SSS). Same-store-sales data only include stores opened for a minimum of 12 month, which excludes data from new store openings.

The SSS indicator measures a retail chain’s sales data over a certain month, quarter or other period and the numbers to the same period in the past–usually the previous year.

Positive Expectations for Holiday Season

Despite the blow from Hurricane Sandy, retailers have positive expectations for the holiday season.  Manta’s survey of small business owners reports that 43% of respondents have expressed more confidence about the holiday retail sales season compared to last year.  Manta, a privately held company based in Columbus, Ohio, touts itself as the “world’s largest online community for promoting and connecting small business”

Despite consumers taking a “conservative approach gift-giving budgets,” the National Retail Federation (NRF) states in their holiday survey that sales will climb 4.1% over 2011, to $586.1 billion. The analysis, performed by BIGinsight, reveals the average consumer spent $740.57 last year for holiday purchases, which include decorations, gifts, greeting cards and other items. The average budget-conscious holiday shopper plans to spend $749.51 in 2012.

Data collected by the NRF show shoppers will allocate an average of $421.82 on gifting family members- kids, parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. The remainder of the gift-giving budget goes to friends, co-workers, pets and community associates. Last year, the average shopper spent $49.15 on holiday decorations. That figure increases to $51.99 in 2012.


Sandy Pushes Down Retail Sales in November

Share Tweet Pin It