Weather Forecast Too Bright for Black Friday

Discussion
Nov 03, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Planalytics (www.planalytics.com), the technology and consulting company that helps retailers and manufacturers plan
for the impact weather conditions have on business, says Black Friday 2003 may be better for browsing, at least when it comes to seasonal items, than actual shopping, as much
of the country is expected to have above average temperatures over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Dorothy Lakner, a retail industry analyst at CIBC World Markets also spoke to attendees of the Web conference and said her firm was looking for sales this holiday season to be
up over last year, although perhaps not the windfall that some are predicting.

She was not overly concerned about the prospects of consumers browsing over the Black Friday, noting the weekend counts for a relatively small portion of total holiday sales
as consumers increasingly looking for value wait out retailers for deeper discounts.

CIBC sees the economy beginning to recover, but Ms. Lakner emphasized it was just a beginning and there were too many variables, such as an unsure job market, weather conditions,
and geo-political concerns that could have a negative bearing on retail performance.

Ms. Lakner cautioned that she didn’t expect to have an economic surge or some incredibly hot item that drove sales across the board for retailers. “We don’t see a rising tide
that will lift all boats. ” She also pointed out that retailers couldn’t count on another one time shot in the arm such as the tax cut that helped boost economic output in the
last quarter.

Moderator’s Comment: How large an impact do you believe the weather has on holiday season sales? What is your outlook for the coming holiday selling
period?

Ms. Lakner pointed out that recoveries have been predicted before and they have yet to take hold. We share her concern. The recent GDP numbers were outstanding
but we do not expect to see them maintained. Retailers can count out any boost in their Christmas business because of a gift from Washington similar to the one they got in the
back-to-school period.
[George
Anderson – Moderator
]

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