Warm Weather Plagues Retail Sales

While consumers may praise the unseasonably warm weather, retailers who were banking on selling their traditional amount of winter gear aren’t so warm to the idea.

While more consumers may be on the streets and walking past those stores, the warm weather has made it so many of those winter boots, hats, and coats don’t make their way off the shelves. The consequence of this is lower sales on some high ticket items, but it also means retailers end up stuck with seasonal items that are tricky to sell.

That often means putting those items on the discount rack to get them out of inventory. This is particularly tough in a market where traditional retailers are already having to keep up with eCommerce giants like Amazon.

In terms of what’s suffering because of the warm temps, one item has been women’s boots. Across the U.S., this category has dropped 13 percent in the most recent week, according to tracking firm Planalytics. Hats, scarves and gloves dipped 4 percent in the start of December.

“You want to believe that it eventually is going to get cold,” Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren told Wall Street analysts last month. “You’ll have to mark it down eventually because there is too much of the inventory.”

He continued: “Our lumps are clearly in the cold weather category.”

CEOs at similar major retailers like Nordstrom and J.Crew have expressed the same sentiment.

This weekend, however, Super Saturday (the last shopping weekend before Christmas) a winter chill is coming, so retailers might be able to get some relief.


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