Early Winter Storm on the East Coast Means Increased Boot Sales for Retailers

An unexpected early snowstorm left the Northeast nearly crippled yesterday as New York-area commuters were left stranded due to hazardous road conditions and disruptions in public transportation.

Winter storm Avery broke records at New York’s Central Park, reporting 6.4 inches of snow, the heaviest early season and November daily snowfall since record keeping began in 1869.

While the weather almost brought the city to a halt, it was good news for local shoe retailers as shoppers considered buying a new pair of cold-weather boots.

At Soula Shoes in Brooklyn, owner Rick Lee said business was brisk during yesterday’s storm. “We had a good uptick,” he noted, since most shoppers live in the neighborhood and stopped into the store. He added the door was busy today as well.

On consumers’ shopping lists were snow- and waterproof styles for men, women and kids. Key brands included Hunter, La Canadienne and Sorel. According to Lee, the early snow had people thinking about the weather and making sure they had snowboots.

In the suburb of Westfield, N.J., Randy Aronoff, VP of Randal’s Shoes, said unlike New York City, the snow did not impact his sales since he’s located in a small town where there is little foot traffic. So far today, he hasn’t seen a surge in customers shopping for boots but anticipated there could be additional traffic over the weekend.

Overall, said Aronoff, customers typically wait for postseason sales to buy cold-weather boots. “We’ve seen the boot business getting worse over time,” he noted, as customers are increasingly holding on to last year’s boots instead of buying new ones.

Globe Shoes in Paramus, N.J., had already seen solid boot sales since the beginning of the week, said store manager Roger Graves. “People have been coming in over the last few days for boots,” he noted, expecting traffic to build over the weekend. Key brands, said Graves, include Toe Warmers, Sorel and Columbia.

At Eric Comfort Shoes in Williston Park, N.Y., store manager Abraham Vark said business has been steady yesterday and today, with customers who both work and walk outside coming in for warm, waterproof boots. Among the key brands are Toe Warmers, Ecco and Blondo. Vark expects business to remain brisk over the weekend.

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