They're getting some support from retailers, who are almost uniformly blaming the weather for their disappointing sales or guidance. This morning, Lumber Liquidators became the fifth company in less than 24 hours to blame the weather on poor sales. The were joined by Mattress Firm Holding, Group One Auto, La-Z Boy, and Panera.
How much is weather hurting? Panera really got granular: they estimate severe weather impacted transactions by 250 to 300 basis points (2.5 to 3 percentage points) since the quarter began in January.
Group 1 Automotive said, "We have lost days in areas of the country that stretch from Houston to New Orleans to Atlanta that are normally safe from winter weather and our stores in areas like Boston, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Kansas have seen significant closures that far exceed normal winter conditions."
Regardless: this excuse is only going to last for a short time. Already, the weather is breaking in New York: the region is expected to be above freezing every day for the next week.
We'll see what the Federal Reserve has to say about this "polar vortex" when the Fed minutes are released today at 2 PM.