The news that February’s sales rose 1.1 percent from January has had stock jumping.
This month’s gain has been the best we’ve had since September 2011. The Down Jones industrial average breached the 13,000 mark with a 217 point gain, and Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index closed up at 1.8 percent. Besides the obvious, gas, being up by 3.3 percent, consumers have put most of their money towards clothes (1.8) and cars (2.68 rise for GM).
What’s with all the shopping? All hands and pointing towards the sun. This winter has been unusually warm- so warm that the national average temperature was 38.3 F, the fourth-warmest winter on record since 1920.
So instead of bundling up indoors, Americans are actually getting out and spending this winter. Coupled with this, US economist Neil Dutta points out that the average February job reports over the last five years, shows that 485,000 workers reported that they weren’t at work due to bad weather. This February that number totaled only 178,000.
All of these factors are causing an early spending and hiring effect, which would otherwise take place during spring. But there are no extra worms for the early bird; “What we’re probably going to see is relatively better winter data give way to weaker spring data” RBC Capital Markets’ Tom Porcelli said to Bloomberg Businessweek. Maybe in a better economy, this early up tilt would be all positives to the nation, but since we’re still “just barely hanging on” (as Porcelli would put it), it will just create less disposable income for Americans come March 20th.
Average hourly earnings grew by a mere 0.1 percent in February and job openings have diminished by 8 million. Looking at the facts, if you spent money that you weren’t supposed to this winter, chances are you won’t be spending much this spring.
Our advice to retailers is to strike now. Whether or not the spending spree will affect your business negatively come spring, you might as well take advantage of the early cash flow. One of the best ways to pull in foot traffic is by making key customers aware of your location with mailed flyers and coupons. That’s why MarketMAPS offers accurate visual tools for direct mail targeting. Using the same data as the United States Postal Service, we can provide you with the layout of any area in the nation!
Visit us at www.MarketMAPS.com