Latest Round of Nor’easters Impacts Spring Shoe Sales for Retailers

Just when you thought it was safe to pack away your snowboots, winter storm Skylar is hitting parts of the mid-Atlantic and coastal New England.

While many area residents have been visiting The Home Depot for last-minute shovel purchases, others remain convinced warmer weather is just around the corner and have been shopping for sandals.

At Benton Shoe Co. in Manchester, N.H., manager Pattie Madore said spring merchandise is selling. “[Customers] are buying everything; I have sold a lot of sandals,” she said, adding that these purchases might be for vacations rather than local wear.

David Zegel, owner of Shoe Emporium in Patchogue, N.Y., said spring product was selling well until the last nor’easter pounded the region. “We were starting to get a nice roll until the last storm hit,” he said. “It was starting to get into the 50s, but when the last storm hit, it killed things a little. The same is [happening] with this storm. It’s taken people’s attention off spring and buying new stuff.”

To combat unpredictable weather patterns, Zegel has been bringing in new merchandise on a more regular basis rather than all at once. “Instead of having everything come on Feb. 15 or March 1, I try to bring in a few items in December, January, February. It also spreads out the bills nicely.”

Like Zegel, Lauren Berk, owner of Berk’s Shoes & Clothing in Providence, R.I., has been spacing out deliveries of spring goods, after learning hard lessons over the past four or five years, when the weather in February and March was brutal. “We did not start to take in sandals until April,” she said. “Buy now, wear now — that’s how we’ve been buying.”

Berk added that while the first two months of 2018 were tough for shoe sales, March has shown an increase as consumers buy fall and winter clearance items, in addition to well-priced spring goods.

At David’s Shoes on First in Cambridge, Mass., owner Robert Valway also is stocking merchandise closer to the season to meet consumer demand. “We don’t prebuy too much,” he explained. “We buy on a weekly and monthly basis. We let the customer and weather dictate the merchandise we are carrying.”

According to Valway, there’s plenty of merchandise available from businesses throughout the season. “We also carry brands we can special-order and have delivered within days,” he added.

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