Retailers’ Pleas For Colder Temperatures Backfire

The old saying “>Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it” has never held truer.

After months of complaining about an unseasonably warm winter, retailers in the Northeast and other parts of the country got exactly what they asked for over the weekend.

Last week saw the coldest air of the season in the East, while overall temperatures across the country were 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit below last year and 1.6 degree Fahrenheit below normal, according to Weather Trends International (WTI), cited by Citi Research analyst Kate McShane in a report Tuesday.

While it should have been exactly what the doctor ordered for shoe companies that had been grappling with elevated seasonal inventory stemming from lackluster winter boot sales, frigid temperatures and snow showers seemed to keep shoppers indoors over the weekend.

Overall retail traffic during the second week of February, ending Feb. 13, 2016, declined 6.47 percent, a deceleration from the prior week’s decrease of 1.68 percent, according to McShane and Cowen and Co. analyst Oliver Chen.

Earlier in the month, at FFANY’s February shoe show in New York, retailers told Footwear News that they were hoping for another batch of cold weather and snow to help clear their cold weather product and make room for spring inventory.

While the results are not always immediately evident — consumers may not choose to brave the cold temps to visit shoe stores during a winter storm — retailers often expect an uptick in traffic in the days after a storm as consumers become more aware of their need for seasonal items. But even that outcome is proving problematic, as the weekend’s bout of cold weather has been quickly followed by warmer temperatures across the country.

Still, more warm weather could bring with it some possible benefits to spring selling, Chen points out.

In a note titled: “Harsh Cold Drives a Traffic Miss, Warmth Ahead,” Chen was upbeat noting that the warm weather expected nationwide over the next two weeks could kickstart early spring sales.

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