The fair-weathered shopping challenge underscores how U.S. consumers, still affected by the Great Recession, remain strategic in their buying patterns. It's a habit they picked up during the economic downturn that's remained ever since.
Many shoppers only buy what they can wear, so it stands to reason that they're not buying coats, boots and hats this year. And since cold-weather items are also hot gifts during the holiday shopping season, many of those items are left on store shelves.
The National Retail Federation, nation's largest retail group, is sticking by its prediction earlier in the season that sales in November and December will rise 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion. Still, the unusually warm weather is a concern.
Marc Kaufman, CEO of the upscale furrier that operates one store in New York City but mostly sells online, says business is down 5 percent. The decline in its Northeast business has been partially offset by its online operations. But Kaufman figures if the weather was colder, sales for the holiday season would be up 30 percent.
"If it weren't for online, I would be in severe trouble," he said.
The cold reception by shoppers is forcing retailers to be creative to try to lure them into stores.