Reporting Heather Brown
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – This cold, rainy weather doesn’t really make you want to run out and buy a tank top or flip-flops.
In fact, experts say the weather and economy are the two biggest factors when it comes to consumers buying clothes.
Generally, the new warm weather clothes come out from May until the beginning of July. But with the cooler weather, that clothing season is a lot shorter this year.
“When April came around, and it was still snowing and blizzard-snowing, that was really brutal,” said Diane Alden, owner of Bombshell on Grand Avenue in St. Paul.
The retail season could still be salvaged, however, if we get even one week of beautiful, 80-degree weather.
But there’s an upside if it isn’t salvaged: big summer clothing sales in late June/early July.
University of St. Thomas retail expert Dave Brennan says the summer clothes retail season has already been shortened from about eight weeks to five weeks. If it continues…
“If we have rain, if we have cool temperatures, it’ll destroy the apparel season for this year,” he said.
Stores can’t predict the weather, or the cold snap seen across the upper Midwest through New England in April and May, so the inventory they’d planned for much earlier in the year might still be around come late June, when it’s supposed to be sold out.
“I think we’re going to see all kinds of good deals out there,” Brennan said.
He says the big-box stores can run regional promotions in the upper Midwest, because there’s been nice weather in the rest of the country.
At Bombshell, Alden has already seen an uptick in May, and she has confidence in Minnesota and its buyers.
“The weather will get better — it always does — and people will be in here looking for summer,” she said.
Even if the weather is bad, one reason you might not see big sales in the big-box stores is because so many of them have less inventory than they used to carry. They got burned a few years back when the economy tanked and have learned their lessons.