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Retailers right to blame weather for Dec. results


BETHLEHEM, Pa. Retailers who blame their weak December results on bad weather won't be totally out of line. According to Weather Trends International, the five-week retail calendar (12/2 through 1/5) was the third coldest in 15 years and the snowiest in seven years bringing major disruptions to the holiday shopping season.

December same-store sales are expected to be the 2nd worst in 37 years, and though Wall Street may tire of the weather excuse, it is valid. Weather Trends reports that record snowfall in parts of New England and the Midwest, along with ice storms and flooding throughout the country, kept consumers out of the stores during a critical shopping period.

"The retail industry gain in 2007 was only 2.3%, which will rank as the worst in 37 years, clearly a recession for retailers," said Bill Kirk, ceo of Weather Trends International. "With 9 out of 11 months completely out-of-sync weather-wise for retailers in 2007, the weather excuse was certainly a valid one and one we heard often," added Kirk.

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