Holiday Central

Warm Winter, Lukewarm Apparel Sales

by Greg Levine

Balmy days are always welcome – unless you’re an apparel seller in December. Will the unseasonably warm weather across the U.S. slam the holiday sales of winter garments?

Marie Driscoll, retail analyst at Standard & Poor's, thinks the effects may not be as bad as some fear. She told “Power Lunch” that the “new fashion silhouette of long over skinny” – which she explained as narrow coats, leggings and thin un-wintry sweaters – should temper the weather’s impact.

Hot Weather, Cool Sales

Jay McIntosh, who covers retail for Ernst & Young, agreed. He believes the biggest detriment will be to so-called “self-gifting” – when consumers feel the cold, and treat themselves to a heavy new coat or sweater. And he says November clothing sales were up 8% over October – so a December drop-off should be expected.

Both analysts agree that any decrease in sales of winter apparel would likely mean a shift of shopping dollars to what McIntosh called “guy purchases”: big-screen TVs and other consumer electronics.