As per the band Crowded House, “Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you
Everywhere you go, always take the weather.”
And in speaking/writing about weather, we have had some beautiful days this past week or so, and when the weather is nice like this. The last thing that is on your mind is work.
Sitting in an office, staring out the windows, looking at the sunshine, watching people walk by, dressed for the warm sunny weather, no overcoats, umbrellas, or macs.
Years ago when I first started working here in England and drug myself out of bed, day in and day out, it was dark when I awoke, dark catching the train to work, dark on the walk and train ride back home, and in doing this in all sorts of inclement weather, I stumbled upon a revelation.
When the weather was nice, the phones didn’t ring much for business. And why, who was thinking about debt and money issues, (we were primarily a debt and insolvency advice service at that time), when it is beautiful outside and they are all out enjoying the weather.
My work colleague pointed this out to me as he left early one nice sunny day.
However, as we can see, there is a correlation between the weather and what we may or may not do.
If the weather is raining heavily, we may take the bus or a taxi as opposed to walking somewhere. The weather also influences our buying habits as well.
Recent figures by the British Retail Consortium – KPMG survey that was conducted, showed that in May retail sales rose by 1.4% over this time last year, and 0.5% over the previous month.
The reasoning behind this increase, the bank holidays, and the sunnier weather.
Shoppers came out to go to pubs, buy clothes, restaurants, and even DIY shopping was up.
The last thing I would be thinking is DIY if the weather is nice, but many times you require the good weather to complete your projects.
The Chief Executive of the BRC, Helen Dickinson stated, “Clothing made a big comeback this month after suffering declines in April. This appears to be due to consumers waiting for just the right moment before embarking on their pre-summer spending.”
“However, with signs that the UK’s economy is slowing, it’s unlikely that this is the beginning of a complete reversal of fortunes.”
“The uncertain outlook means that customers will remain cautious with their spending, therefore we expect sales figures to remain volatile for the time being.”
The UK Head of Retail at KPMG, David McCorquodale stated, “With a summer of sport kicking off in June and festival season getting under way, retailers will be hoping that the feel good factor coupled with a dose of summer sunshine will keep the tills ringing over the summer months.”
Holidays and Weather
And it is not just the weather that can affect retail sales, as mention, bank holidays and holidays in general can have an impact.
This year’s early Easter had an affect on sales as well.
KPMG’s David McCorquodale said, “Earlier Easters are not always good for the fashion industry as consumers are put off purchases of lighter fashions and footwear in cooler temperatures and this was certainly the case this year.”
“However, furniture and home accessories benefited from consumers taking on home improvement projects over the long weekend while the ‘Mother’s Day effect’ boosted sales of jewellery and watches.”
Helen Dickinson the Cheif Executive with the BRC stated, “This slowdown can’t be viewed in isolation.”
“Retail is an industry undergoing significant structural change as the investment in the digital offer continues apace while, from a consumer perspective, more disposable income is being spent on leisure and entertainment.”
So it is not just the weather impacting shops and stores in sales, but also when the holidays fall each year. Of course we know when Christmas will be each year, and that is always a busy time, or hopefully a busy time for retailers.
The Royal Wedding
While the Royal Wedding a few years back, and the bank holidays, coupled with good weather, was a good thing for retail sales, it didn’t help some of the other small businesses out there.
With employees having the time off work, productivity would be down, which in turn could cause a loss of revenue.
According to the FSB/Federation of Small Businesses, the timing of the Royal Wedding and bank holidays could take a toll on small businesses.
A spokesperson for the FSB at the time, Stephen Aalambrits stated, “After the VAT hike in January, which could really slow consumer demand, many will be looking to a really strong Easter to get their business going.”
“But there will be a real temptation for workers not to bother going into work in the week of the wedding. It will be a three day week and it could see many businesses just shut down.”
“Also, shop staff will expect to be paid time-and-a-half on a bank holiday so that will be another cost for some firms,”
The Weather and Online Sales
So if bad weather affects our shopping and buying habits, possibly keeping us inside, how does the weather and holidays affect online shopping or e-retail trade??
That is a complex question, as it can vary by region, product or service, and also how severe the weather may be.
Online retail sales are increasing all the time, with a fifth of all UK retail sales taking place online, for the 5th month in a row.
Once again Helen Dickinson from the BRC states, “As contribution from stores was negative, online sales took more than their proportionate share of overall non-food growth.”
“The online penetration rate reached the third highest ever recorded, after Black Friday in November and the January sales.”
“Retailers are confidently using their online channels to drive overall growth of their omni-channel businesses. This is evidently where businesses need to direct investment to ensure they remain competitive and meet the demands of the increasingly digital-savvy consumer.”
Should you buy a car that was built on a Monday or Friday??
If we are to believe the old sayings and notions, then no. The car will be a “lemon”.
The reasoning behind this…cars built on these days would be the result of low productivity by workers, some hungover from the weekend on a Monday, and those anxious to leave on a Friday to begin the weekend
And how about the weather and productivity.
There are a few schools of thought on this.
If a person has an inside job, maybe works in an office, and doesn’t get out, in poor weather they may work better, as they are not distracted by the nice weather. Oppositely, someone who works outdoors may be out-off by the poor weather and productivity may decrease.
In good weather someone outside may work better, alternatively, good weather may distract someone working inside.
So there are studies that show a correlation between the weather and productivity, as well as the weather and retails sales.