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Holiday Shoppers Battle Through Storms

Storms in the Midwest and Northeast Sunday made holiday shopping a challenge.

Storms in the Midwest and Northeast Sunday made holiday shopping a challenge.

This story first appeared in the December 17, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

However, in the New York metropolitan area, a wintery mix of rain, sleet and snow had a muted effect. Shoppers made retail rounds on Fifth Avenue. And Dawn Simon, marketing manager for Macerich, which owns the Queens Center Mall, said, “It doesn’t seem like the Nor’easter has had any effect on our business here — 80 percent of our shoppers come by mass transit. “

But north of the city in Fairfield County, Conn., Mitchells/Richards/Marsh copresident Robert Mitchell said, “It’s never great to have bad weather the last two weeks before the holidays. Thursday was almost a washout, Friday some of the schools were closed or started late. But Saturday was a record day,” Mitchell said. “We are still confident that the last weekend [before Christmas] will be much bigger this year than last year.”

In Chicago, six inches of snow had fallen by Sunday afternoon, and meteorologists forecasted that accumulations of up to 14 inches would be seen in parts of Michigan by the end of the day. And just days after a fast-moving storm dumped more than a foot of snow and snarled traffic for hours, Boston was pounded again with a mixture of snow, hail and rain that added another six to 10 inches of what was essentially a slippery mess.

Though Oklahoma dodged this weekend’s winter storm, about 250,000 residences and businesses were still without power Sunday from the ice storm a week ago.

At the upscale Somerset Collection center in Troy, Mich., all stores were operating under holiday business hours and “it’s business as usual,” a concierge said.

At Water Tower Place in Chicago, the majority of the shoppers were tourists, including Europeans making the most of the favorable exchange rate. Macy’s, Forever 21, H&M and Wet Seal appeared to be the busier stores, according to a spokesman for the shopping complex. “But it’s definitely slower than a normal Sunday.” he said.

At Chicago Place, which houses such stores as Talbots and Saks Fifth Avenue, a spokesman said Saks was “without a doubt” the busiest store — “all the ladies’ clothing stores seem to be doing well.”

In New England, the Burlington Mall in Burlington, Mass., opened on time, but by noon the parking lot wasn’t fully cleared and the place was “quiet,” said a mall employee.

In Boston, gusts of wind kicked up snow, making whiteout conditions in places. Still, some hardy souls hit Newbury Street, and if they were out, they had bags with them, according to one retailer.

“There are actually people out walking around, unbelievably,” said Jeannette Buscaglia, a sales associate at Intermix on Newbury Street.