Retailers Say Let It Snow

Record cold temperatures and snowfall across the country are putting energy back into boot sales.

“It’s back to business as usual as opposed to the past few seasons,” said Justin Sigal, president of Little’s Shoe Store in Pittsburgh. “We went in leaner this year but have already refilled some orders.”

Sigal, like many retailers, said he hopes that by next year he will be able to place new boot orders rather than carry over leftover styles from past seasons.

Jeff Langer, CEO of Madison, Wis.-based Morgan’s Shoes, said the store is in a better position this year, thanks mainly to the fact that consumers are finding they need to restock their boot supply.

“Our boot business is great. Compared to last year, when we were selling mostly for fashion, this year it’s more about function,” said Langer. “We’re not going to be sitting on merchandise and will be more open for boot purchases next fall.”

In St. Louis, which has seen about 5 inches of snow this season, customers at Laurie’s Shoe Center began making purchases only after the first flakes fell.

“What’s really changed has been the anticipation factor. It used to be people would buy at the start of the season and right up to the first snow,” said Mark Waldman, owner of the store. “Now people buy after the snow. It’s more of a ‘believe it when you see it’ attitude.”

At the Delmar Bootery in Albany, N.Y., the store is benefiting from strong sales of new styles and also its robust repair business.

“Now is the time people notice holes in their boots,” said manager Melanie Stevenson. “We’ve seen a big bump.”

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