By: Kristin Larson
The Arctic blast and frigid temperatures that swept across the Midwest and East Coast this week brought an early holiday gift for apparel retailers: a surge in winter coat sales. . . .
. . . According to Planalytics, a global firm that measures the financial impacts of weather for business, no other outside variable influences consumer buying as immediately and directly as the weather.
“The weather coming in this cold, this early is really great for outerwear firms,” said David Frieberg, vice president of marketing at Planalytics.
Indeed, as the temperatures dipped across the Midwest and central states, the coat business picked up speed, said Roseanne Morrison, fashion director at The Doneger Group, a New York City-based retail consultancy firm.
“This week, the Northeast mirrored that trend,” said Morrison. “Puffers are the outerwear item of choice, from brands as elevated as Canada Goose, Moncler, Moose Knuckles, and Mackage to Uniqlo and more.”
Until this recent cold surge, the coat business was “flat to down,” she said. Now it’s “up in the single digits” compared to last year.
Freeport, Maine-based L.L. Bean, which was founded in 1912, said whenever bad weather hits, whether it’s cold, rain, or snow, there’s an impact on business, but this arctic blast was “early and extreme.”
“We have seen growth in our coats, primarily our 850 down and Primaloft winter coats, as well as other areas such as jackets, hats, gloves, flannel, and boots,” said Amanda Hannah, director of public relations at L.L. Bean.
Planalytics’ weather-driven demand (WDD) research measures the increase or lift in sales, or decrease, due to the weather.
For the week ending Nov.9, the WDD for winter coats is up 15% for the U.S. overall. Retailers in Memphis, Little Rock, Houston, New Orleans, Indianapolis, and Detroit saw a 21% to 30% boost in coat sales, while shoppers in Philadelphia, NYC, Chicago, Minneapolis, Nashville, St. Louis, and Charlotte gave the category a bump of 15% to 20%.
“They’re moving through that inventory at full price versus heavier markdowns during the holidays. It’s a win for the category,” Frieberg noted.
That’s clear at the Space 519 boutique in Chicago. “I didn’t expect to be sold out of coats this early. Three of my vendors I already went back to them and asked for more coat stock,” said owner Jim Wetzel.
And when it comes to cold weather, some shoppers will pay extreme prices to stay warm.
Toronto-based Canada Goose’s parka, the “Snow Mantra,” retails for $1,650 and is almost sold out in all sizes and colors online. The coat was designed for workers in the Canadian Arctic, field-tested to protect them from temperatures down to -70° C.
“We’ve never relied on weather to drive our growth—we’ve grown through ‘warm winters’ and ‘bomb cyclones.’ But do I love a cold, snowy day? For sure,” said Dani Reiss, president and CEO of Canada Goose.