Retail’s wild weather ride

The retail industry's wild card is always the weather.

Mall-based department stores and specialty apparel retailers have done well throughout the cold weather, although last weekend's ice and snow in the East may have posed a threat to holiday sales.

Now, the forecast calls for above-normal temperatures, and that may give a boost to retailers in the final days of this year's holiday shopping season.

It's going to be "freakingly" warm, said Paul Walsh, vice president of weather analytics at The Weather Channel.

There's a prediction in some parts for continued stormy weather for the final weekend before Christmas, but no snow is expected for the major markets, Walsh said.

That should drive demand for non-seasonal products such as electronics and toys rather than winter clothing, he added.

--By Christina Medici Scolaro.

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