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Warmest March since 1910 results in early spring demand surge in West

Apr '07
Coldest Easter Week in at Least 10 Years Offsets the Warmth in the East

While the month started very cold and wintry, a strong warming trend quickly took hold out West and enveloped the entire U.S. by mid-month. In the east, the warmth was offset by snow and cold during the St. Patrick's Day weekend and, more importantly, during the key Easter shopping week.

Although most locations experienced warmer than typical temperatures, the warmest conditions were experienced from the Midwest to the West Coast. For example, both St. Louis and Dallas experienced their 2d warmest March in 60 years.

It was the warmest March in Dallas since 1967 and warmest in St. Louis since 1946. Los Angeles had their 11th warmest March, Chicago had their 6th warmest. Many locations such as Roanoke and Little Rock had their all-time warmest March.

“While March weather overall was extremely favorable, the extreme cold and snow in the key Northeast and Midwest markets during the critical Easter shopping week resulted in very difficult selling conditions against a very favorable selling environment last year.

For some regional retailers, the frigid Easter weather will have trumped the holiday,” said Paul Walsh, senior vice president at Planalytics.

According to the Planalytics proprietary sector-based Weather-Driven Demand Indices, national weather favorability was distributed as follows:
• Softlines +6%
• Broadlines and Home Centers +11%
• Restaurants +6%

Weather favorability was positive for 97% of the 75 publicly traded companies tracked by Planalytics. On a company basis, the strongest year-over-year weather favorability was noted:
• Ninety-Nine Cents Stores (+35%)
• Gottshalks and Big Five Sporting Goods (+28%)
Costco (+22%)
Nordstrom (+18%).

The least favorably positioned companies were:
• BJ's Warehouse (-7%)
BonTon Stores(-6%)


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