Some shoppers not buying winter clothes

HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – New numbers show that sales of winter clothes are colder than the temperatures and some retailers are struggling.

Warmer weather brings people outside. Cold weather puts people in the mood to shop. The average temperature for the month of December is over 40-degrees here in western Massachusetts. Higher than normal, and warm enough to keep people’s mind on cookouts, not mall shopping.

This year, sales on winter related items are particularly icy. For women’s winter boots, sales in New York have fallen about 25%. But at Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters in Hadley, it’s one of their most popular winter items.

“It has dropped off a little bit for certain items. We sell snow shoes here. So snow shoe and ice skate sales have dropped off a little bit but hats, gloves and accessories seem to be right on key with everything else that’s going on for the season,” said Alan Page, the store manager of Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters.

With winter clothing inventory sitting on the shelves longer than usual, stores have offered deep discounts to try to get shoppers in the door and opening the wallet. Shoppers like Ginny Hamilton of Amherst have noticed.

“I have been because I am looking particularly for children’s clothing and they winter stuff new is very expensive. So I’ve appreciate the fact that I am already seeing 50% off sales before we are seeing any snow.”

But other shoppers say this unseasonably mild weather just hasn’t put them in the mood for some of their favorite winter activities.

“It definitely does. I’ve looked at cross-country skiing and I snowboarding. I’ve looked at clothing for both but there’s nowhere to go. The snow was at Jiminy Peak in the Berkshires and it no longer is, so I have not,” said Rich Weisenflue of Pittsfield.

While Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters is seeing strong seasonal sales. Mall-based clothing stores have lost $343-million in sales compared to last year. Despite the drop in seasonal clothing sales, the National Retail Federation still predicts holiday sales will rise nearly 4% this year overall.

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