Europe’s economy and changes at J.C. Penney may give the weather blame game competition when retailers release their upcoming sales and earnings reports.
Winter never came this year and as a result apparel retailers reported generally ugly sales and gross margin numbers for the fourth quarter. Remember those margins from the teen retailers that declined as much as 1,000 basis points? Promotions ruled as retailers tried in vain to move cold-weather-related products. Weather was an easy “out” for retailers.
Fast forward to recent Spring results. This time the weather was something to celebrate. Last month, same-store sales results blew away expectations. Lower heating bills have put a few extra dollars into consumer wallets. And the early start to Spring has inspired shoppers to rush into stores in search of brightly colored jeans and tank tops. Luckily for retailers, color is “in” this Spring. Spring Fever has given investors hope even when it comes to the longest turnaround stories (the Gap). Only time will tell if sales were being pulled forward or if the consumer has staying power.
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