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Retailers Hope Warm Weather Heats Up Cash Register

Althea Chang
Big Data Download

March may have been a bad month for some retailers because of colder-than-normal temperatures, but as temperatures rise this month, so could sales. That's because shoppers buy based on weather, not based on the clothes on store racks, according to Paul Walsh, vice president of weather analytics at The Weather Channel.

Pent-up demand for spring apparel could lead to better results this month, especially for retailers in the U.S. regions that were slow to warm up last month, Walsh told “Big Data Download.”

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TJ Maxx (TJX) stores, for example, is more exposed to the northeast region, where frigid spring temperatures meant shoppers were less inclined to buy those spring skirts, dresses and sandals. As a result, TJX reported that March same-store sales declined by 2 percent.

Meanwhile, sales at Ross Stores (ROST), which has more of a presence on the west coast, were 2 percent higher in March.

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Regardless of location, web searchers are ready for warmer weather, according to Yahoo search trends. Across the country in the last month, searches on Yahoo for skirts are up 80 percent. And if the hemline indicator has any merit, the market could be getting stronger across the board. Searches for micro mini skirts are up 121 percent in the last month, according to Yahoo! data.