Retailers all up and down the Eastern seaboard must be very unhappy. Post-Christmas business Monday, came to an abrupt deep freeze as Mother Nature spewed almost two feet of snow on New York, Boston and other cities Sunday night.
According to WWD, business started out fairly well on Sunday, but quickly tapered off by late afternoon as the snowfall and winds intensified and buried any hopes of a strong start to post-holiday sales. Many retailers and malls were forced to close early Sunday and delay openings on Monday or remain closed, particularly in Manhattan and outlying areas. Massive transportation issues Monday snagged retail operations and deterred mall traffic as roads were being cleared throughout the day, major airports remained shut until early evening and train and bus lines scrambled to revive services.
Intermix stores in Manhattan opened their doors on Monday morning, but closed early because of the weather conditions and the resulting decrease in foot traffic. They are set to reopen today at regular hours.
Luckily, the industry consensus Monday was that the storm was a significant factor in depressing sales but didn’t represent a disaster since the holiday period had been so strong until then. Retailers and analysts believe most of the volume lost Sunday and Monday can be made up in the next few weeks, although it will require stores to extend sales and advertise more to clear merchandise, impacting their costs.
“The storm totally puts a dent into things. When you lose one of the top six days of the year you feel it,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for The NPD Group. “The loss of post-Christmas weekend is brutal. This weekend was shortened already,” with Saturday being Christmas.
Cohen said the storm swept through roughly 25 percent of the nation’s retailing, moving from the Midwest to the East Coast, and altered the shopping mood. “The urgency issue isn’t quite there anymore,” he said. “Holiday was on steroids and all of sudden lost some of that luster. However, the storm doesn’t really affect the overall scheme. It affects the image of what the holiday brought, and we could go from being a very good December to an OK December.”
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