According to Planalytics, the last full weekend before the Christmas holiday (December 16-18) is expected to see the first measurable snowfall of the season in major markets in the East. While the cold and snow will continue to drive seasonal merchandise into shoppers’ baskets, disruptions to store traffic and travel are anticipated to start the weekend.
Snow will begin to fall Friday evening and continue through Saturday morning, bringing measurable amounts to northern locations along the I-95 corridor including Philadelphia, New York City and Boston. By mid-day, a changeover to a rain/wintry mix will arrive, allowing consumers to get out and finish their holiday shopping.
Markets further south including Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Richmond can expect a wintry mix and rain Friday and Saturday, with ice threatening the Ohio and eastern Tennessee Valleys. By Sunday afternoon, the chance of snow returns to markets along the northern portion of the I-95 corridor. The system will also bring moderate snowfall to major markets of Chicago, Milwaukee and Toronto.
“Weather-driven demand will continue to surge for cold weather apparel and consumables, with the frigid conditions anticipated to boost December apparel retail sales by an estimated $350 million,” said Planalytics. “Additionally, the snowfall will drive demand for snow throwers, winter boots, ice melt, shovels, firewood and warm foods. While the wintry conditions may cause consumers in the East to stay indoors to start the weekend, anticipate traffic to bounce back by Saturday afternoon as shoppers continue to check items off their holiday lists.”