NRF: Holiday Sales Will Hold Up Despite Wintry Weather

Old Man Winter has made an appearance across the country, with snow, hail and ice making for a chilly December in New York, Washington D.C. and even Dallas all in the past week. Despite the wintry weather nationwide, the National Retail Federation says that overall holiday sales won't feel the brunt of the storms so there's no need for retailers to worry. 

"We don't think (the snow) is having an impact on (overall) sales," said Bethany Aronhalt, a spokeswoman for the federation, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The NRF predicts a 3.9 percent growth and $602.1 billion in sales during the 2013 holiday, slightly higher than 2012's actual holiday sales growth rate of 3.5 percent. The federation is sticking with these figures even after heavy snowfall in various parts of the country over the past two weeks. 

According to retail analyst Craig Johnson, snowy weather happens every December, which is accounted for in advance when the industry releases sales forecasts for the holidays. Furthermore, just because a snowy day may temporarily halt holiday sales for a day or two, those customers still need to cross off items on their gift lists. As a result, shoppers end up at malls either a few days in advance of the predicted storm, or after the weather clears up. Those sales still contribute to retailers' overall transactions for the holidays.

"Over the next week this will all even out and, based on historical experience, sales will be recouped," Johnson told Reuters.

It's also interesting to note that snowy weather could actually help stores, especially when it comes to cold-weather items. Heavy sweaters, boots and winter accessories are usually heavily marked-down immediately after the New Year, but if consumers are experiencing snow and colder temps in early December, fewer of those items will end up on the clearance rack come January.

For more see:
-This Wall Street Journal article
-This Reuters article

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