For retailers that were hoping the sales and foot traffic that dipped in March would spring forward in April, they were likely disappointed as RetailNext’s April Retail Performance Pulse report indicated that those metrics took another plunge last month.
While April saw a slight increase in conversions of .4 percent, and an SPS increase of 2.4 percent, traffic dipped by 14.6 percent and sales showed a decrease of 12.5 percent — all on a year-over-year basis. Transactions were also down 13.6 percent, year over year. Overall, the positive news on the otherwise gloomy report was that average transaction value (ATV) was up slightly at 1.4 percent, but that wasn’t enough to save the sales figures. The slowdown in traffic was attributed to spring break and Easter that fell toward the end of March and the beginning of April.
“Although April showed a decrease in sales of 12.5 percent, when combining the periods of March and April to level out the calendar shift, the reduction in sales is 5.2 percent. Much of the decline in April occurred in weeks 1 and 2, when all metrics fell significantly,” the report stated.
The report also broke down the metrics by region in the U.S., which showed that the Northeast has the largest dip on a year-over-year basis on its retail figures. Across the Northeast, sales were down 16.6 percent and traffic was down 19.2 percent. In the Midwest, sales were down 12.2 percent and traffic was down 10.7 percent. In the South, sales were down 12.5 percent and traffic dipped 14.1 percent. In the West, sales were down 8.2 percent and traffic was down 12.7 percent.
In early February of this year, the data firm released its first Retail Pulse Report for 2015 and kicked the year off with a lot of downward pointing arrows. January 2015 saw a 7.7 percent decline, on average, in both sales and traffic in U.S. physical locations when compared to the same period in early 2014. Average transaction value (ATV) and sales per shopper were both down, though the year-to-year decrease was very slight – 0.1 percent. March figures were also gloomy as the figures showed foot traffic at retailers was once again on the decline – down, on average, nationwide 8.3 percent. Traffic wasn’t the only thing down in March this year. On average, sales fell about 3 percent from the same time period last year.