Retailers Feel the Heat

Retailers are starting off summer with mixed results.

As a heat wave swept through much of the country for the second straight day on Thursday, storeowners said the weather has impacted shopping patterns and, in some cases, sales.

“We’ve seen better traffic in the morning and a fall off toward the afternoon, but last night was very strong,” said Gary Weiner, owner of Saxon Shoes in Richmond, Va. 
In St. Louis, where temperatures topped 90 degrees both days, Laurie’s Shoes owner Mark Waldman said there has been a shift in when shoppers come into his six store locations. “It’s changed the busy times,” Waldman said. “We get a lot busier in the morning and the late afternoon and evening.”

Although sandal sales are picking up earlier than usual, Waldman added that he expects summer business to be on par with last year. 

Craig Blattberg, owner of New York boutique Diane B., said sandals have been off to an early start at his store, but not so much because of the heat.

“I wouldn’t say hot and humid weather drives sales,” he said. “Usually people in New York shop early for their sandals because they go away for the weekend to places like the Hamptons.” In addition to sandals, flats from Claudia Ciuti and Fratelli Rossetti have been popular among consumers.

Shoes N’ More manager Ann Spallone, in Greenwich, Conn., was uncertain how the heat would ultimately affect her sales, but said she has been doing her best to draw shoppers inside her store. With temperatures nearing the 100-degree mark in the area, she encourages customers to stop in for a break from the brutal weather.

“We get people in by opening the door and blasting the air conditioner system,” Spallone said. “Our mentality is, if the door is open, they’ll come in.”

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