Has the mild winter of 2012 helped or hurt sales?

When I wrote the following (for RetailWire), stores had not reported February comp sales…which turned out to be mostly positive. And I also wrote it after an unusually mild and quiet winter…meanwhile eight inches of snow headed to Milwaukee later today:

The mild weather is a mixed bag, and it is worth looking at stores’ levels of same-store inventories as they end their 4th quarters. You can clearly see heavier pockets of seasonal inventory in apparel retailers than last year — gloves, boots, coats and the like. (You can also see which stores bet too heavily on fake fur and brightly colored plaid flannel.) On the other hand, the good weather will probably drive February comp sales, since people can get out of their houses and shop for early spring needs. The first week of February 2011 in particular was a terrible weather week around the country, and should provide some favorable comparisons


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