Warm weather leaves stores in the cold

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Warm weather trips up U.S. retailers but shoppers will see more fat deals.

Rosemarie Nowicki, who lives in Berkeley Heights, N.J., finally spent some of her holiday budget last weekend buying coats online for her family because she hated the thought of being stuck in a store with such mild temperatures outside. “It’s hard to get into the holiday spirit; I’ve been walking around in short-sleeve shirts and capri leggings,” Nowicki says. “I was certainly not going to the mall.” Turns out, lots of shoppers feel the same way as temperatures in cities across the country, including New York and Philadelphia, near record levels for December. The balmy weather hasn’t done anything to entice Americans to venture out and shop, which has hurt sales at stores that depend on the holiday season for up to 40 per cent of their annual revenue. Planalytics, a weather forecasting firm for retailers, estimates so far this season mall-based clothing stores have lost $343-million in sales compared with last year.

And First Data, which analyzes payments at stores and online, said fur sales fell 20 per cent from Oct. 31 through Monday. “Winter didn’t happen and so the clothes, the scarves are not selling,” said Ron Friedman, head of the retail and consumer products group at accounting firm Marcum LLP. The fair-weathered shopping challenge underscores how U.S. consumers, still affected by the Great Recession, remain strategic in their buying patterns.

The National Retail Federation, nation’s largest retail group, is sticking by its prediction earlier in the season that sales in November and December will rise 3.7 per cent to $630.5-billion. Macy’s, for example, is advertising 70 per cent off some men’s sweaters and 75 per cent off children’s outerwear this weekend, while Kohl’s is slashing prices of puffy jackets to $39.99 from the original $100.

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