Cold snap adds to retail woes

We’ve been checking in with some small retailers to see how their holiday sales have been. Keri Holmes, who actually reported stronger sales than last year at her independent bookstore in Hampton, Iowa, emailed this weekend to say sales continue to be pretty decent:

My sales have been steady so far. I wish they were stronger. We’ve had a few snow days — with virtually no traffic. But what is interesting is that the sales totals continue to build, with each day stronger than the previous. Even yesterday, when the streets weren’t clear until about 2pm, was above average (for a normal friday).

The cold snap that hit much of the nation on the last weekend before Christmas probably added to some stores’ woes. The AP, citing a Sears spokesman, notes that “store traffic was slower in some parts of the Midwest and New England where storms dumped snow and ice, he said. In the Midwest, wind chills dipped to minus 30 or lower, and shoppers in Iowa and Illinois had to brave blizzard warnings.”

Thanks to Keri and others who’ve taken the time to share their stories with readers. Retailers, keep us updated with what you’re seeing in these last days of holiday shopping, and please check in after with post-mortems and analysis. Tell us in comments or email me.

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