'Pineapple Express’ Wreaks Havoc on Holiday Shopping - ShopperTrak

‘Pineapple Express’ Wreaks Havoc on Holiday Shopping

by Bill McCarthy on 12-15-14 in Holidays

The powerful storm dubbed “Pineapple Express” exploded on the west coast last week, causing millions of dollars in property damage, flight delays, and power outages. With Christmas fewer than ten days away, retailers were hit particularly hard because the storm occurred during the busiest shopping time of the year. Retailers in San Francisco and Sacramento are now facing the especially daunting task of recovering in the wake of the storm, as they saw double-digit losses in year-over-year shopping visits on Wednesday and Thursday of last week.

ShopperTrak analysts built this data set by pulling retail shopping visit numbers for Wednesday (12/10/14) and Thursday (12/11/14), compared with their equivalent days last year, for major cities along the West Coast. In particular, the storm had the most detrimental effect for businesses in San Francisco and Sacramento.

Shopping Visits Decrease in Major Cities:

  • Compared to last year, Sacramento saw a decrease in shopping visits of 16% on Wednesday and 41% on Thursday, versus last year’s numbers.
  • In San Francisco, a similar pattern took place, with losses on Wednesday of 10% and Thursday of 35%.
  • The only other city with double-digit losses for both days was Seattle, Washington.

More thunderstorms, torrential rain and even tornadoes may be in store for the west coast this week, according to The National Weather Service. The main storm track will send the bulk of the energy into California, the site of last week’s worst weather.

With ShopperTrak’s location-based analytics, retailers who were hit hardest by the storm, can better understand the implications and recover faster. ShopperTrak’s solutions help retailers generate valuable insights into their stores’ data in order to help them determine a strategy while they recover from the storm. Insights gleaned from the data will enable them to make informed decisions on marketing, staffing and operations in the coming days.

We wish the best of luck to everyone in California and to retailers weathering the storm. ShopperTrak will be closely monitoring the storm’s future impact on shopping visits. In what has been a very promising holiday shopping season so far, we expect retailers in California to “bounce back” from the storm in the coming weeks and continue to produce strong numbers throughout the rest of the holiday season.

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Read more posts by Bill McCarthy

Bill McCarthy is the General Manager of the Americas, in which he oversees regional efforts pertaining to the Traffic Insights business unit.

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