Total U.S. foot traffic drops 3.1% in February

Chicago ShopperTrak RCT Corp.’s National Retail Sales Estimate reported that total retail sales for the month of February increased 1.2% while the company’s Retail Traffic Index (SRTI) reported total U.S. foot traffic declined 3.1% for the same period as compared with last year.

Sales remained positive in February despite three major snowstorms that influenced sales and traffic throughout the Midwest, East and Northeast regions. ShopperTrak’s data shows that although retail levels slipped during each blizzard (Feb. 5-7, Feb. 9-10, Feb. 25-27), shoppers proved resilient by spending more directly after each event.

Both President’s Day and Valentine’s Day spending most likely boosted the monthly sales figure as consumers rushed to various retail locations when they could safely leave their house.

“Although slight, the positive retail performance in February should be encouraging for retailers as most of the month was buried in snow,” said Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak. “We’ve seen time and time again that when consumers are willing to spend they find a way to do so and February’s performance highlights this trend.”

Looking ahead, March sales and traffic levels will most likely be average, compared with last year unless the warmer weather seen throughout most of the country continues and drives early spring purchases, Martin added.

On a weekly level, ShopperTrak’s NRSE reported sales for the week ending March 6 increased 2.0% as compared with last year, while weekly sales rose a strong 10.6% versus the previous seven-day period ending Feb. 27.

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