NEW YORK — December through February, North Dakota is the country’s coldest state, with an average temperature of 10.4 degrees, according to data supplied by the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Minnesota is the second...
NEW YORK — December through February, North Dakota is the country’s coldest state, with an average temperature of 10.4 degrees, according to data supplied by the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Minnesota is the second coldest state, with an average of 11.7 degrees.
Though Florida experienced abnormally frigid temperatures last week, the state’s 59.3 degree average is the country’s warmest place to spend the winter months. Key West, Fla., is the country’s warmest city, with an average year-round temperature of 77.8 degrees.
The five cities below have the coldest average year-round temperatures in the U.S. While summer days can get much higher, it’s the winters — and the not-so-uncommon below-zero days — that bring the average to a chilling low —the kind of temperatures that warm the hearts of outerwear firms.
Here, a round-up of what outerwear retailers in the five coldest U.S. cities reported selling during this frigid winter.
1. International Falls, Minn.
Average year-round temperature: 36.8° F
Today’s expected low: -12° F
Store: Ronning’s, a 13,000-square-foot outdoor specialty store.
Tina Kelly, manager, said: "Our two largest lines are Carhartt and Columbia outerwear. Sixty percent of our outerwear is Carhartt, while 40 percent is Columbia. The Extreme Arctic from Carhartt retails for about $115 and is our bestseller. It has a quilt lining inside and an outer shell that’s waterproof. Even though it’s geared for men, some women also buy it because it’s the warmest coat we sell. The average price for a Columbia jacket is about $140, but we also have lower-priced coats and more expensive from Columbia. The whole line sells good for us as do the Columbia snow pants and bibs. We also carry wool coats from Johnson Woolen Mills and Woolrich."
2. Duluth, Minn.
Average year-round temperature: 38.5° F
Today’s expected low: -3° F
Store: Inland Coast Traders, a 2,300-square-foot outdoor specialty store.
Jill Wallin, store clerk, said: "We sell mostly The North Face, which run about $250 on average. We specialize in synthetics, mostly down coats with a nylon shell. Other popular styles include a heavy fleece lining under a shell that blocks the wind. I would say outerwear represents about 60 to 70 percent of our sales. The other day it was 40 below with wind chill and when it’s that cold, the biggest thing is just blocking the wind. So you have to block the wind with a nylon or Gore-Tex shell."
3. Caribou, Maine
Average year-round temperature: 38.8° F
Today’s expected low: -3° F
Store: Joseph Sleeper & Sons, a 4,500-square-foot outdoor specialty store with another 5,000-square-foot location in Presque Isle, Maine.
Joseph Sleeper, owner, said: "The Bugaboo Parka and Sunrise Peak Parka from Columbia are our bestsellers for women. They seem to like some color, such as light blue and orange from Columbia, but mostly they’ll buy anything that’s warm with a zip-out microfleece lining. The Columbia label is synonymous with quality, versatility and warmth, so it does really well here. When it comes to winter outerwear, women’s jackets represent about 60 percent of sales. This year, we had early snow, which motivates the buyer early in the winter season. And with all this cold weather lately, it only helps, but more so in accessories."
4. Marquette, Mich.
Average year-round temperature: 39.1° F
Today’s expected low: 7° F
Store: Getz’s, a 20,000-square-foot outerwear retailer in business since 1900.
Dennis Mingay, manager, said: "The biggest [overall] seller is Carhartt, number two is Columbia and number three is North Face, but women buy more of the latter two. They love zip-out fleece liners because the down coats make them look too big. Light colors in blue and purple have been selling well and we’re also selling The North Face Windstopper Fleece for $199. On average, we sell about 2,000 coats per year priced between $150 and $250. If we have early snows in late October and early November, that really drives outerwear sales, but overall, November and December are the best months."
John Proulx, owner, said: "I do best with Columbia —it’s probably my number-one seller for women’s outerwear. Heavier styles from Columbia do better for me, retailing for about $300 to $350. I also carry Woolrich and...Forecaster, which is a more mature look that runs about $150 to $250 retail. I would guess women’s outerwear represents about one-third of my total sales and I sell it year-round. I’ve noticed color is really important with women. They come in looking for a coat and color usually ends up being more important that function or versatility."
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