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Source: Planalytics news release

March 2017 was the coldest in three years and, as a result, apparel retailers, restaurants, and home centers all struggled with negative sales impacts versus stronger comps. Conversely, winter categories like snow removal products enjoyed an extended season in 2017 when mid-month snowfall and winter storms drove need-based purchases.

This year, March weather once again was unhelpful for the retail sectors listed above as even chillier comparisons took hold across most of the U.S.. In addition to the colder temperatures, multiple nor'easters spanned from the Ohio Valley to the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions during the first three weeks of the month. Only now in the last days of the month are above normal temperatures spreading across many central and eastern markets.

The weather weakened restaurant traffic and sales compared to LY and Planalytics estimated that sector sales will take a -$950 million hit versus LY due to less favorable weather conditions. Likewise, Apparel chains are projected to suffer a -$369 million weather-driven sales impact compared to March 2017.