Consumer Nation

Cold Snap Taking Bite Out of Retail Sales

LWA/Dann Tardif | Blend Images | Getty Images

Retailers are feeling the chill from unseasonably cool temperatures in the Northeast—and it's expected to show up in the earnings reports this May.

"The weather has been so volatile and so different than last year," said Paul Walsh, chief meteorologist at The Weather Channel's WeatherFX. The first quarter of 2012 was the warmest in the region in 108 years, but this year the weather is much chillier.

Walsh analyzes how weather affects businesses and consumers, and he expects consumers have been putting off buying warm weather gear, and the slowdown in these sales will likely hurt first-quarter profit margins.

There was some evidence of this when retailers released monthly sales reports for March at the beginning of April. At that point, investors seemed to accept the weather excuse. By May, investors may get more fidgety.