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Was this the winter of your discontent?

Six lessons learned from the exceptionally snowy season of 2014

By: Evan Gold

The winter of 2014 brought record cold and snow throughout North America, and its impact on business and consumer spending was significant. How significant? Well, for the S&P 500 companies, the word “weather” was mentioned in almost 200 earnings calls from January through March – that’s an 81% increase compared with last year.

For businesses in the home sector, which includes hardware stores, home centers, lumberyards and farm supply stores, this past winter was most definitely one for the record books. Need-based purchasing of seasonal items, such as ice melt, snow throwers, shovels, heaters and insulation, spiked significantly throughout the winter in virtually all markets in North America.

As businesses look back on this past winter, there are several lessons to be learned and applied to the planning of winter 2014-2015. The lessons can help “weatherize” businesses to improve and enhance their abilities to manager a winter such as the one we all just experience.

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