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Blizzard hurts retailers as post-Christmas shoppers stay home


New York City -- Sunday’s east coast snowstorm disrupted sales throughout the entire area and disrupted one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Sections of New York and New Jersey got as much as two feet of snow over the past few days, keeping many shoppers at home. Spending may shift into January, Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group, told Bloomberg on Monday.

“Look for sales to be repeated by retailers. They’re going to be more aggressive,” Cohen said.

The day after Christmas is one of the five busiest shopping days of the year, and it may take retailers two weeks to capture sales lost yesterday, Cohen told Bloomberg. At the same time, shoppers may lose their enthusiasm as the holiday season wanes, he said.

For some retailers, however, the storm brought benefits. Home Depot and Lowe’s Cos. sold out of snow blowers and shoppers bought more shovels and ice melt, Craig Johnson, president of New Canaan, Conn.-based Customer Growth Partners, told Bloomberg. The storm also likely will give online sales “a slight bump” on Sunday and Monday, he said.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Retailing Index dropped 3.16 points, or 0.6%, to 508.67 at 10:39 a.m. EST on Monday. The index had gained 25% this year before Monday, compared with a 13% increase for the S&P 500, according to the Bloomberg report.

Consumers may temper their spending if the storm’s aftermath stalls shopping for several days and the frugality of New Year’s resolutions kicks in, Michael Dart, the San Francisco-based head of private equity at the New York consulting firm Kurt Salmon Associates, told Bloomberg.

New York City had 18 inches to 20 inches of snow by 7:30 a.m. local time Monday as the storm’s center shifted north and east, commercial forecaster AccuWeather said. The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for Boston and into Maine.

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