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Fewer holiday bargains expected due to last year’s mild winter, analyst warns

Shop early and don’t wait for the markdowns on winter gear in the eastern half of the nation because they may never come thanks to last year’s mild winter.

PHILADELPHIA – If you snooze, you may lose out on buying cold-weather gifts this holiday season in the eastern half of the country. A mild winter last year could mean a lean inventory this year.

More demand for seasonal items in the East, lower demand in the West

Different parts of the country will have different needs and supply, he said. Planalytics, a company that forecasts the impact weather will have on demand, put out a seasonal report that indicated the overall percent change in weather-driven demand will be almost flat nationwide. But demand for seasonal items will be significantly higher in the East and lower in the West.

Houston’s weather-driven demand for sweaters will be 6% higher than last year, the Planalytics report stated, while Seattle’s demand goes down 1%. Portland, Oregon’s demand for gloves goes down 4% while New York City’s demand is 3% higher. New Orleans’ demand for fleece goes up 3%, while Minneapolis shoppers want 3% fewer thermals.

The National Retail Foundation (NRF) forecast is for a big shopping year, 3% to 4% over dollars spent last holiday season (November and December.) That means more shoppers for fewer items.

Not much selection when weather-driven spending sets in

A closer look at the Black Friday to Cyber Monday sales forecasts from Planalytics shows the cold snap and the winter weather impacting the Rockies and Plains and then spreading east are pushing up cold-weather-wear demand.

Boot demand:

Minneapolis: +30%
Denver: +4%
St. Louis: +1%

Fleece demand:

Miami: +14%
Nashville: +8%
Raleigh: +6%

Hats, gloves and scarves demand:

Detroit: +22%
Omaha: +12%
Cleveland: +8%

Read the full article here.