Cold Snap A Good Sign For Winter Boot & Apparel Glut

Could the cold snap be doing winter boot sales a big favor? With freezing temperatures hitting much of the Midwest and East Coast, it’s looking like winter boot sales might pick up a bit.

After rocky November and December sales of cold-weather accessories, some analysts are feeling slightly more confident in traffic and sales in the coming weeks thanks to the combination of the arrival of winter weather and deep discounts.

According to market watchers at Cowen & Co., traffic during the first week of January was up across the country, especially in the Midwest and Northeast. Apparel traffic lagged compared with the prior week, but it was still up about 3.5 percent compared with the same week last year. The last week of December and into January, apparel traffic was up over 4 percent compared with the same week last year.

“Last week was the first year-over-year positive traffic week since September week two. It is notable that there have been two consecutive weeks of apparel traffic. The sector could be due for a relief rally,” said the report.

While promotions remain deep for winter boots and apparel and the general mood is focused on clearing inventory for spring, retailers can certainly taking advantage of the temperatures and snow to move product.

Corinna Freedman at BB&T noted that in her checks of retailers ranging from Macy’s and Nordstrom to DSW, businesses were still marking down boots and moving them to clearance.

“With much of the U.S. feeling more normal winter temperatures, this could be the break retailers need to move slow-moving winter items. Similar to our prior channel checks, we continue to observe the smallest promos in athletic footwear, as products remain in demand,” wrote Freedman.

As retailers aim to move product, analysts are saying that with the warm winter and cold (and late) spring to come from El Nino, a diverse mix of product and limited buys will be key to making it through the coming months.

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