Report: February sales grow 0.7%

San Francisco -- Shopper activity cooled off in February 2014 as a result of extremely cold weather across the country. According to in-store retail analytics provider Euclid, analysis of data from tens of millions of domestic shopping sessions indicates that general merchandise, apparel, furniture and other (GAFO) retail sales grew by a modest 0.7% year-over-year.

Euclid said that these metrics illustrate a weak outlook for industry revenues. Overall, retailers did well to keep shoppers engaged in physical stores during a month that typically sees less interest in robust browsing, yet consumers kept nonessential trips to a minimum during spells of cold weather.

Here are some of Euclid’s top findings in this month’s report around standard traffic metrics:

• Shopper traffic declined 3% compared to the same month last year, as visits were negatively impacted cold weather and storms across much of the country for the majority of the month.

• Storefront conversion was up nearly 1% as a result of the heavily promotional environment and depressed outside activity.

• Bounce rate increased 2% from the prior year as more shopping trips were quick and focused, but overall shopping session duration was in line with 2013.

Shoppers also behaved differently around February’s two holidays: Presidents’ Day and Valentine’s Day. The best shopping day of the month was Monday, Feb. 24, which saw the best in-store shopper engagement – average duration was greater than 25 minutes. The worst day of the month was Wednesday, Feb. 19, which saw a significant slowdown in activity following the long Presidents’ Day holiday weekend and was plagued by particularly low storefront conversion and a high bounce rate.

Valentine’s Day did not have nearly the positive impact on shopping activity this year compared to last year. Cold, stormy weather and the growing ease of online fulfillment drove an increasing amount of Valentine’s Day related shopping to online e-tailers and away from the physical store, resulting in 10% less store traffic year-over-year for the week preceding the holiday.

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