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March forecast brings better expectations

This month will bring more favorable weather conditions than March 2008, which was one of the worst for retailers as temperatures trended colder or much colder than the year before for more than 90% of the nation.

Precipitation was also much greater last year, making it the wettest retail March in 10 years and the snowiest in 12. The huge year-over-year drop in temperatures and wet, snowy weather kept most consumers hunkered down at home waiting for spring. Along with the dismal weather, rapidly rising gasoline prices (+23% over the previous year) and a weakening economy all took their toll on overall retail sales which were the second worst in 23 years.

Weather for March 2009 appears to be more favorable. The weather will trend warmer than last year, especially across the North with drier conditions across much of the East. Further south the weather will be a bit cooler than last year while much wetter conditions will be common across the West.

Retailers in the Northeast should wait until mid-month before pushing their spring categories as one last snowstorm is possible during the week ending March 14.

Weather Trends International

Jack Grum, vice president

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