Shoe Retailers in the Path of Winter Storm Harper Expect Last-Minute Boot Sales

Mother Nature is readying to flex her muscles. Winter Storm Harper is set to touch down on the Plains and the Midwest on Friday and Saturday before making her way to the Northeast on Saturday and Sunday, with heavy snowfall expected in these areas. With a few days remaining until the system hits, unprepared consumers still have time to pick up a pair of snowboots.

At Benjamin Lovell Shoes in Philadelphia, assistant manager Chris Grisolia said consumers typically come into the store looking for boots the day before — or even the day of — a storm. Weatherproof boots are available from brands including Sorel, Pajar, Rieker and Blundstone, but the inventory is low. Last-minute shoppers can expect to pay full price, he noted.

Like Grisolia, Paula Begnoche, assistant manager at Hawley Lane Shoes in Stamford, Conn., expects the store’s business to pick up due to the impending storm. “I’m hoping they come in over the weekend,” she said. “People get nervous.”

Although the last major snowfall to hit the area was in November, Begnoche said as the temperature drops, boot business continues to pick up. The store has a selection of boots available on sale as well as full-price, with brands including Sorel and Kamik, among others.

The Barn Family Shoe Store in Newton, Mass., is also hoping consumers stock up on boots this weekend. According to a sales associate, there’s a variety of styles available from Sorel, Kamik and The North Face. And while some of the store’s more fashion-driven boots have gone on sale, weatherpoof styles remain at full price.

Quadasia Bronson, assistant manager at Shoe Dept. in Rochester, N.Y., is anticipating a wave of last-minute shoppers. Customers who have put off their boot buying, she noted, will find plenty of styles on sale, including boots from Columbia, Totes, Itasca and London Fog.

While Pittsburgh-based retailer Gordon Shoes has a range of waterproof boots in stock from Sorel, Merrell, Timberland and Ecco, retail manager and buyer Amy Bertoncini said consumers may have to compromise on choices due to low inventory this time of year. She did, however, expect boot business to pick up since the area has mainly been hit by rain this season instead of snow.

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