Sales in brick and mortar retail stores dropped 7.6% in March, on the back of a 4.3% year over year decline in traffic and a drop in conversion of 0.4 points. This latest data from The RetailNext Retail Performance Pulse Year over Year report for physical retail also notes March marked the first conversion drop in seven months.
RetailNext Retail Performance Pulse March 2018
Holiday dates in April affected the results. Because Easter Sunday fell on April 1, store closures on that day dragged performance drastically downward for Week 5. On the other side of the coin, the strongest week of the month was the one leading up to Easter Sunday (Week 4) where net sales, traffic and transactions were higher than the same week in the previous year.
The third week straddled a middle ground statistically with relatively positive Average Transaction Value (ATV), Shopper Yield (SY) and Conversion Rate (CVR) numbers year over year.
The first and last Saturday of March were the high points. The best day for sales and Average Transaction Value was on March 7 while traffic peaked on March 10. Conversion rate peaked on March 23, while shopper yield spiked on March 6. Sunday, March 4 marked a low day for sales conversion rate and Average Transaction Value.
Traffic hit its lowest point on Wednesday, March 21.
Along with the shift in the date for Easter Sunday, weather played a role in the results. March of this year was the coldest in the last four, the driest since 2015 with the most snowfall since that year.
As a result, the Northeast suffered through the largest sales decline (8.9%) year over year. Traffic dropped 0.4% as well. In the South, sales dropped 1.4% monthly and traffic held steady at 0%.
Although both sales and traffic decreased, the Midwest fared best with the best conversion rate and shopper yield numbers of all the regions.
The study areas were from March 4 to April 7 with 7+ million shopping trips for retail stores in America used for data.