U.S. MAY 2011 SUMMARY: Cool weather started off the month, but temperatures moderated during week 2 leading to an exceptional week with temperatures reaching the 80s and 90s across the East. The weather turned less favorable for the remainder of May with much cooler temperatures and a return of widespread severe weather. There was some light at the end of the cool, stormy tunnel for the East as heat began to build towards the Memorial Day weekend. Temperatures in the West were below normal for the 2nd year in a row and heavy mountain snow added to record high snow packs. The weather grabbed the headlines with outbreaks of severe storms, major flooding, and extreme drought making it seem like the apocalypse was at hand. The month actually started out on a quiet note with the 1st week of May seeing the least severe weather activity since mid-March, however, severe weather came back with a vengeance by mid-May. Flooding along the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri Rivers closed parts of major interstates, waterways and railways affecting product distribution. Meanwhile, the drought across the South Central states deepened, although there was some relief in northeastern Texas by the end of May.
A cooler and wetter May was a negative for seasonal categories, however, there were some favorable periods. Warm and dry weather during the week of Mother's Day provided a burst of pent-up demand for warm weather categories including swimwear, sun care, bbq products, and lawn & garden in the East. Building heat going into the Memorial Day weekend in the East was another positive for retailers as consumers prepared for the holiday weekend with camping supplies, sun care, pool toys and chemicals, picnic foods, charcoal, lawn & garden and outdoor DIY supplies. Unsettled weather associated with a string of stalled frontal boundaries dampened store traffic at stand-alone retailers, but benefited mall-based traffic at various points during weeks 1, 3, & 4. Meanwhile, cool weather in the West was a negative for seasonal categories and similar to last year, but wetter weather this year was an additional negative. Severe weather and flooding increased home center traffic as consumers cleaned up, however, areas directly hit by strong storms would have seen a disruption to store traffic (see tornado reports log). Drought in the South Central was a negative for lawn & garden categories like mowers and fertilizers as a lack of rain subdued vegetation growth and water restrictions limited consumers' ability to care for their lawns and gardens.
U.K. MAY 2011 SUMMARY: Temperatures for the U.K. as a whole trended the warmest in 3 years and warmer than what is typical for this time of year. Precipitation was much higher than last year, but closer to normal as last year, May 2010, was the driest retail May in 19+ years (see precipitation maps). Actually, southern locations in England were much drier than normal and the lack of rainfall sparked wildfires and caused problems for arable farmers. A majority of the precipitation was contained to the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland where rainfall was higher than normal. The first half of the month was the most favorable with much warmer year-on-year weather boosting demand for warm weather categories like apparel, footwear, sun care, grilling products, ice cream and cold beverages. Wetter y-o-y weather was a negative for footfall, except in southern England. Cooler weather during the 2nd half of the month dampened demand for seasonal categories, especially going into the Spring Bank Holiday weekend. Cooler and wetter weather will have dampened outdoor DIY, lawn & garden, and camping gear, although southeast England still received below normal amounts of rainfall.
G-20 MAY 2011 SUMMARY: Warmer and drier weather in eastern Europe was very favorable for Spring and outdoor categories like apparel, footwear, cold beverages, sun care, ice cream, and lawn & garden products. Meanwhile in the Southern Hemisphere, warmer weather in Argentina and Chile was a negative as milder weather dampened demand for Autumn categories. Conversely, cooler year-on-year weather in Australia was a positive for Autumn categories like long-sleeved shirts, jeans, and heaters. Flooding in Colombia, southwestern Africa and the eastern Philippines displaced many people and caused extensive crop losses, a negative for their economies.
About Weather Trends International
Weather Trends International (WTI) is the global leader of actionable year-ahead business weather guidance for retailers, manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, agricultural firms, financial analysts and consumers worldwide. The company’s business-to-business clients include some of the world’s most respected and successful companies such as Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, Target, AutoZone, Anheuser-Busch, Johnson & Johnson, Clorox, Energizer, 3M, JP Morgan and Hershey’s. Its business-centric weather solutions and understanding of how consumers respond to the weather is used throughout organizations to help "manage the weather risk.” Utilizing technology first developed in the early 1990s, WTI’s unique, statistical, math-based forecasting methodology projects temperature, precipitation and snowfall trends up to a year ahead for 6.4 million locations in all 195 countries with industry-leading 80%+ accuracy (as verified in an independent audit by Forecast Watch). The company has received 12 business and technology awards and in 2009 was listed #5 on Forbes’ list of America’s Most Promising Companies. WTI is headquartered in Bethlehem, PA with offices in Bentonville, AR. For more information, visit www.wxtrends.com or www.wt360.com.