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Brighter spring expected for retailers

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Sunny spring outlook for retailers

The bitter cold winter has been brutal for many retailers at the close of their fiscal year, but the weather could be on their side come spring.

One reading on spring weather is on the way this weekend, with Groundhog Day signaling either six more weeks of winter or the start of spring, but more scientific readings from weather forecasters suggest that relief for many retailers could come in March and April, according to one weather expert.

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"When you've got this period of time where it is really, really cold, there's this collective sense of cabin fever that we're going to see break out, and so I think there's going to be a very, very strong break to the spring when this siege of polar vortexes finally lets up," explained Paul Walsh, vice president of weather analytics at The Weather Channel.

And since this spring's weather is expected to be more seasonal, as opposed to last spring's chillier-than-normal temperatures, retailers could see quite a boost in same-store sales, Walsh said.

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Department stores like Macy's (M) and Nordstrom (JWN) and apparel retailers like Gap (GPS), Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and Urban Outfitters (URBN) aren't the only retailers that stand to benefit from a warmer spring, according to Walsh. Even quick service restaurants like McDonald's (MCD), Burger King (BKW) and Wendy's (WEN) could benefit from better foot traffic during the season, he said.

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