Erratic Weather Impacts Retail

NEW YORK — Retailers across the country said that unusual weather patterns during June made a tough month even tougher.

According to information from the weather-tracking firm Planalytics, the Northeast has had one of the wettest, coolest Junes in history, while areas of the South have experienced extreme heat. The Midwest has seen rain and flash flooding in some areas.

“In this economy, we did not need the weather to do this,” said Scott Bernhardt, COO of Planalytics, which tracks weather trends for retailers. “Even in a favorable economy, nobody’s buying sandals in weather like this.”

Laura Bryan, who owns Wish, a women’s high-end shoe store in St. Louis, said alternating bouts of rain and extreme heat have kept shoppers out of stores.

“When it’s pouring down rain and they’re telling you that you might have tornadoes, nobody leaves their home,” Bryan said.

In New York, which saw 15 days of rainfall during the first three weeks of June, the weather has “definitely slowed things down,” said Nick Santora, a co-owner of the Classic Kicks boutique in Manhattan.

“You just don’t see many people coming around on these crappy days,” Santora said. “I can’t necessarily quantify it, but I know it’s hurting us.”

Richard Erani, who owns Chuckies, also in Manhattan, said he had seen a definite impact on his store.

“It’s been hindering traffic, and we weren’t prepared,” Erani said. “We didn’t have as many rain boots as we could have had. Who knows how much more we could have done if the weather had been nice?”

Others were looking on the bright side last week.

Justin Garcia, co-owner of Koko & Palenki in Miami, said his stores, which are located in indoor shopping malls, have actually benefited from the erratic weather.

“People tend to want to get away from the rain and the heat, and they can’t go to the beach if it’s rainy, so they hang out in the mall,” Garcia said.

Sam Colin, owner of Avenue J Men’s Shoes in Brooklyn, N.Y., observed that his shoppers have adjusted to the stormy skies.

“We’ve had so many days and weeks of bad weather,” Colin said. “[But] people have to go on with their lives. It’s not so much working against us anymore.”

Planalytics forecasted that the climate should start to improve within the coming weeks, with cooler-than-normal temperatures in the Northeast and along the West Coast. In the South, extremely hot temperatures will continue.

“It’ll basically start to normalize now, but sadly, too late [for June sales numbers],” Bernhardt said.

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