Exploring the secrets of weather and retail

Bill Kirk and Gerry Kress are weathermen. But not the television variety.

As owners of Weather Trends, they predict temperatures and atmospheric conditions around the country (they say they’re pretty good at it); but more importantly, they analyze the weather’s impact on retail sales.

Here’s one of the secrets to the analysis: Not all heat waves are created equally.

Kirk explains: “People think 90-degree weather drives air conditioner sales,” he said. “Not necessarily. Take a 95-degree heat wave in New York City. If the year before was 100 degrees during the same period, then the demand for air conditioners would be down about 50%. What matters is the delta — meaning, the difference between the current trend and the previous-year trend.            

“It’s not rocket science,” Kirk said.

But it is meteorology.

Home Channel News asked for a surprising weather-based merchandising discovery.

“One would be mousetraps,” Kirk said. “There is a 95% correlation between d-Con mousetrap sales and the weather. In the fall, when it gets cold, mice get cold, too. And they go scurrying for warmth. The correlation is off the charts, and the sales volume is staggering.”

Homechannelnews.com will begin publishing a bi-weekly Weather Trends forecast and analysis beginning this month.

And to any who might wonder why the topic of weather deserves editorial coverage, Kress bristles. “Retailers ignore the weather at their own peril,” he said. “And if you don’t think the weather matters, then you won’t be in the retail business very long.”

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