I ended up inadvertently conducting a bit of retail research when I accompanied my husband to our local Dick’s Sporting Goods over the weekend. Even though we were there for a 3-wood (that’s a golf club, for those of you like me who don’t speak that language), a familiar pattern in shopping carts throughout the store started to emerge.
Coolers. Pop-up tents. Swimming pools. Under Armour Heat Gear. Lots of sunscreen and even more Gatorade.
Why the sudden interest – and packed parking lot – on a Sunday morning at Dick’s? Because where we live it’s softball season, and this past weekend featured county tournaments far and wide. (These are a big deal, and often last the entire day.) With temperatures in the high-90′s, it’s not surprising that players and fans headed out shopping, stocking up on plenty of things to keep themselves shaded, hydrated and cool.
As we were shopping, I was reminded – yet again – how much the weather impacts retail. Be it rain, snow, or – in this case – heat, weather patterns impact our industry far more than many analysts or reporters give them credit.
This heat wave throughout much of the country has spurred demand for all sorts of seasonal items, according to the folks at Planalytics. After the third warmest June in the last 50 years, July has been just as brutal – and the sales numbers support that. From last July, demand for air conditioners is up 41%, sleeveless tops are up 29% and sandals are up 20%, Planalytics says. Even swimwear (13%), sports drinks (12%) and automotive batteries (7%) are seeing an increase.
Golf clubs don’t appear to be on that list, but I did always consider my husband’s spending patterns to be abnormal. Besides, his softball tournament was on Saturday so we purchased all of our Gatorade, ice and sunscreen the day before.