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BERWYN, Pa. — Warmer weather and the summer season is upon us, but how this changeover impacts convenience stores has a lot to do with regionality.
In a webinar hosted last week by Planalytics Inc., a weather analytics, software and services company based in Berwyn, Planalytics President Scott Bernhardt discussed how weather-driven demand (WDD) for products will differ from region to region this summer. For instance, iced coffee — a staple offering in many convenience stores — will see a 6-percent increase in WDD in Boston and an 8-percent increase in San Diego in June.
Meanwhile, frozen novelties — another c-store staple item — will see its WDD go up in general this summer, including a 5-percent uptick in WDD in Los Angeles. However, some areas like Atlanta will see a 7-percent decrease in WDD in July.
And for those retailers stocking grilling options and propane, WDD for such items next month is expected to jump 5 percent in New York and 4 percent in Orlando, Fla., Bernhardt explained during the "Memorial Day 2016 and Early Summer Outlook" webinar presented by Planalytics in partnership with Cowen and Co., a financial services firm.
SUMMER 2016 WEATHER OUTLOOK
The month of June is expected to be cooler than last year, but that is considering June 2015 was the warmest in more than 55 years. June 2015 was also the wettest in more than 55 years, Bernhardt pointed out.
Similarly, the month of July will not be as hot as last year, which was the warmest July since 2012, according to Planalytics' summer outlook data. Its summer outlook starts with the runup to Memorial Day weekend. Though, the eastern third of the United States — east of the Mississippi River — did begin to see warmer temperatures this year after un-Spring-like temperatures that began right after the Easter holiday.
In general, retailers are poised to capture pent-up demand among U.S consumers who are welcoming the shift in season.
"There is so much cabin fever out there," Bernhardt said, noting "the difficult stretch of dreary weather in the eastern third of the U.S."
The retail industry could use some positive momentum, added Oliver Chen, senior retail analyst and managing director at Cowen and Co., who reported that retailers are coming out of the first quarter of 2016 more cautious than optimistic. In general, in-store traffic fell off after Easter.
In addition, less store traffic has been an ongoing, multi-year issue. With the increase in mobile shopping, Chen expects this trend to continue.