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The effects of weather on retail sales

  • Martha Starr-McCluer

Monthly fluctuations in consumer spending are often attributed to the weather. This paper presents a model in which weather affects the productivity of time in nonmarket activities (such as shopping or recreation), and so, via time and budget constraints, may induce substitution in spending across goods and over time. Using monthly data on retail sales and weather data from the National Weather Service, I find that unusual weather has a modest but significant role in explaining monthly sales fluctuations. However, lagged effects often offset original effects, so that weather's influence tends to wash out at a quarterly frequency.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2000-08.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2000-08
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  1. Carroll, Christopher D & Fuhrer, Jeffrey C & Wilcox, David W, 1994. "Does Consumer Sentiment Forecast Household Spending? If So, Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1397-1408, December.
  2. Heien, Dale, 1983. "Seasonality in U.S. Consumer Demand," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 1(4), pages 280-84, October.
  3. Gilbert Ghez & Gary S. Becker, 1975. "The Allocation of Time and Goods over the Life Cycle," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ghez75-1, August.
  4. Stephen A. Smith & Dale D. Achabal, 1998. "Clearance Pricing and Inventory Policies for Retail Chains," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(3), pages 285-300, March.
  5. Wilcox, David W, 1992. "The Construction of U.S. Consumption Data: Some Facts and Their Implications for Empirical Work," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 922-41, September.
  6. Warner, Elizabeth J & Barsky, Robert B, 1995. "The Timing and Magnitude of Retail Store Markdowns: Evidence from Weekends and Holidays," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 321-52, May.
  7. Jeffrey A. Miron, 1986. "Seasonal Fluctuations and the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Model of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 1845, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. English, William B & Miron, Jeffrey A & Wilcox, David W, 1989. "Seasonal Fluctuations and the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Model of Consumption: A Correction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 988-91, August.
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