Chicago ShopperTrak RCT Corp.’s Retail Traffic Index (SRTI) reported that total U.S. foot traffic for the month of October fell a sharp 12.4% while the company’s National Retail Sales Estimate reported retail sales posted a very slight 0.7% increase for the same period.
The severe October total U.S. foot traffic decline follows September’s 9.3% decrease, reflecting the American consumer’s unwillingness to make unnecessary trips to their favorite retail locations during the country’s current economic uncertainty. Additionally, this year’s presidential election may have negatively impacted traffic trends in October, as historically ShopperTrak has seen less retail activity during national elections as consumers concentrate on the candidates and corresponding issues.
Although retail traffic continued its extreme decline, NRSE retail sales posted a slight increase as shoppers may have made less frequent trips while spending more for cold-weather apparel following the cold snap in parts of the country in late October. This minor monthly sales increase follows the 1.0% retail sales decrease in September, which was the first year-over-year monthly drop since March 2003.
On a weekly level, ShopperTrak’s NRSE reported sales for the week ending Nov. 8 fell 2.6% as compared to last year, while weekly sales increased 2.0% vs. the previous seven-day period ending Nov. 1.