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Cold Weather = Slow Shopping?

(This is a quick addendum to my previous weather-related post.)

Big-box retailers blamed the cold weather for their poor February sales. Is there anything more ridiculous?

Let’s create a quick list of why using the weather as an excuse for poor sales is the silliest, yet most continuously used, excuse since I would always tell my mom that I was throwing up all morning because I had caught a stomach bug and my bathroom visits were in no way connected to the fact that I was out till 4:30 a.m. with my friends the previous night. For the record I had about 36 stomach viruses in 1986.

  1. It is always cold in February. So year-over-year averages should not change that much. It is always hot in July, etc.
  2. There were no shouts of joy over skyrocketing sales when temperatures in the Northeast were 15 degrees above normal for December and half of January.
  3. We live in a big country. If it’s cold in the Northeast, I bet its extra warm in another region. Shouldn’t the two cancel each other out?
  4. If someone has saved up for an LCD TV or a dishwasher and found the model they want, they will put on a coat and hat and go to the store. If you are selling something intrinsically useless during the winter, say bathing suits, then don’t expect much floor traffic.
  5. Since it’s cold outside, doesn’t it make sense to go into a warm store?
  6. If it’s too cold go outside, why aren’t retailers hyping their online stores in their Sunday circulars and commercials? “Why get frostbite when you can buy “yadda yadda” from the comfort of your own home.”

I guess what it boils down to is certain retailers need a new excuse when sales are slow. If anyone comes up with a few good ones, leave a comment.