In The News


Retail’s laggards will have a tough time passing the blame this Christmas


By: Krystina Gustafson

When retailers’ sales reports trickle out in the new year, they’ll be hard-pressed to find an excuse if their results fall short.

Buoyed by strong economic fundamentals, more confident consumers and a last-minute spending surge, several industry groups are now saying the season could come in at the high end or above their original forecasts.

As cooler temperatures sweep across the Northeast, one of 2015’s most popular excuses — the weather — doesn’t hold much water this season. After last year’s warm winter forced retailers to slash prices on coats and scarves, temperatures have been more cooperative this December. That, along with leaner inventories, has allowed retailers to sell more cold-weather merchandise at a higher margin.

Apparel stores in markets east of the Mississippi River received a $309 million boost in December thanks to these cooler temperatures, according to Planalytics, a firm that studies the impact of weather on businesses.

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