Specialty apparel retailers lost more than $500 million in sales this holiday season due to warm temperatures, analysts say.
While the promise of colder weather in the New Year should finally provide a boost to cold-weather apparel, analysts said any spike in demand would be too little too late.
Further adding to retailers’ woes are predictions that spring will get off to an unusually cool start across much of the United States, which could cause an even bigger blow to apparel sales than the warm December.
According to Planalytics, a consulting firm that analyzes the effect of weather on consumer demand, specialty apparel stores lost $421 million in sales due to weather between November 1 and December 19. That number ballooned to more than $500 million through December 26 – and it doesn’t even account for the losses at department stores.
These retailers are also expected to report anemic sales during the fourth quarter, with Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren warning in last month that consumers would have a “field day” this holiday shopping season, as the company would be forced to slash prices to get rid of its excess inventory.
Planalytics’ data show that demand for outerwear declined 10% nationally in December, compared to 2014, while demand for boots and hats, gloves and scarves each fell 4%.