Companies & Industries

How weather affects sales at companies like Canadian Tire

The wrong bet could cost millions

(Photo: Philip and Karen Smith/Iconica)

(Photo: Philip and Karen Smith/Iconica)

If you thought coping with the wild weather sweeping across Canada this winter was tough, try being a retailer. Forget the seven-day forecast: store operators need to know what the weather is going to be six months from now. The wrong bet could cost millions in unsold merchandise or missed sales. That’s why companies like Canadian Tire, Winners and Starbucks rely on weather analytic firms such as Planalytics, which build statistically driven weather projections to forecast demand up to 11 months out. Here’s how they see Canada in 2014 (comparisons are to 2013 sales).

February: The shortest month of the year certainly won’t feel that way in Quebec City. Demand for ice melt is expected to surge 60% due to increased precipitation.

March: After an unforgiving winter, Torontonians will welcome spring with a splash. Rainwear sales in the city will be 10% higher.

April: Open-toed shoes won’t be making an early appearance in Ottawa. Cooler temperatures will result in an 8% drop in spring footwear sales in the nation’s capital.

May: Toronto lifeguards will have fewer swimmers to watch over. A cooler end to spring will keep people out of pools and result in a 6% dip in swimwear sales

June: Two words, Ottawa: “heat wave.” Parents eager to get their kids outdoors will drive up sales of children’s shorts by 16%

July: Warmer temperatures in Vancouver will result in a modest 5% drop in lawn tool sales compared to 2013.

August: Come August, Montreal could be as dry as the Mojave, which will push demand for lawn-watering equipment up by 15%.

September: Winter comes early to Winnipeg. As the mercury falls, sales of outerwear will rise 9%.

October: Bundle up, Edmonton. A chilly fall will push up sweater sales by 6%.

November: Ottawa sees lots of sun this November, cutting demand for winter boots by 12%.

December: Winnipeggers endured the coldest December in 50 years in 2013. They’ll get a reprieve this year, leading to a modest 2% dip in demand for hot foods.