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Source: Planalytics news release

March 2017 was the coldest since 2014 - and in the Northeast it was actually colder than February 2017! The cold across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions significantly limited demand for early spring merchandise in many key markets. Additionally, snowfall spiked mid-month across the Mid-South, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast to keep consumers locked into a winter mindset.

March 2018 has come in "like a lion" with a major snowstorm hitting the Northeast this past week. However, as the month progresses, Planalytics is projecting more favorable spring selling conditions in the East where LY comps are soft. Meeting last year's performance will be most difficult in the South Central region and many other markets in the western half of the country are likely to end up cooler than March 2017.

Traffic levels are expected to be negatively impacted for most of the country with the exception of the Northeast region. For example, DIY traffic is projected to be down 50 basis points nationally but locations in the Northeast could gain 100 to 400 basis points (from a weather-driven demand standpoint). The Northeast will see a similar weather boost for Apparel Stores while the U.S. as a whole is projected to be down 40 basis points. Wintry weather to start the month has put the restaurants in a hole and Planalytics projects a negative 100 basis point impact nationally for the month compared to LY.