I would write a brilliant post on this... • 19 June 2008 • The SnowBlog

I would write a brilliant post on this...

... but I've got rather a large number of deadlines. Retail sales in May were staggeringly high, catching out economists and causing City types to splutter a lot. In the Guardian, Brian Hilliard from Socit Gnrale said: "It is amazing. I cannot believe this is a reflection of the underlying trend. A stunning number. We suspect weather as the explanation." Rob, could you possibly do a blog post on retailers and the weather? You know, the thing, and the thing?* It's just I'm a bit busy today. *Rob and I, having known each other for about 12 years, are like Daneel and Giskard in Asimov's Foundation novels. We can communicate complex thoughts and dialogue using high pitched frequencies in a matter of seconds that would normally take a good morning's worth of normal, human-rate dialogue. It's impressive - you should see it sometime. Rob's contribution: What Em is referring to is the sort of thing you see in weekly trading meetings at the big retailers. Imagine the buyers gathered together with a few key representatives of other functions and someone, maybe the commercial director, hauling everyone over the coals and scrutinising the previous week's trading performance. What you see a lot is bad sales being attributed to the weather. Too hot, too cold, too grey, too wet. What you never, ever see - not once ever - is someone responding to good sales by saying "It's not really me; it's the weather: it's better than expected." (Weather is never the reason for good sales even when discussing year-on-year performance in a situation where last year's poor sales were blamed on the weather.) Can you trust someone who blames bad weather if they never offer a share of the credit to an unseasonably fine spell?


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