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Warm October could hinder fall retail sales

Althea Chang

With shelves stocked with cool-weather apparel and other fall gear, a month with above-average temperatures could hurt retailers, according to one weather expert.

"The weather has a huge [effect] on driving consumer demand—especially this time of year, when people are changing out their closets and getting ready for fall," said Paul Walsh, vice president of weather analytics at The Weather Channel.

And the weather "has really been topsy-turvy," Walsh added. September was cooler than normal, while October is shaping up to be warmer than normal, according to The Weather Channel.

That's throwing off stores and buyers, Walsh said. "Once you get into October, they really like the weather to start to become seasonally appropriate, because that in turn drives demand and that in turn drives full-price sales," he added.

People usually shop based on outside temperatures rather than what's on shelves, he said. When the weather doesn't match the merchandise, retailers are often forced to mark down remaining inventory to make room for incoming goods.

--By Althea Chang

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