NEW YORK — The return of the sun over the weekend after eight days of continual rain sent consumers outdoors and into stores.
Scoop, with six stores in the New York metropolitan area, including the pedestrian-oriented SoHo and Meatpacking District, benefited from the clear skies. Owner Stefanie Greenfield, said, “Who’s not going to go walking around the Meatpacking District and SoHo when the weather’s nice out?”
Consumers were snapping up corduroy pants and started buying jackets. Also popular were sweaters that can be worn as jackets.
“When you start to see weather in the 60s, people decide it’s time for fall,” Greenfield said. “It was good mood weather. People were in the mood to shop for wear-now fall. People wanted to get on a new sophisticated trend. They decided that the summer stuff that they were trying to stretch the season with was over and it’s time for fall.”
A Bloomingdale’s spokeswoman said the New York and metro stores that were affected by the wettest October since 1903 had a very strong weekend. “We feel the nice weather as well as the dip in temperatures played a significant part in getting people out of the house and into the neighborhoods where the stores are located,” she said. “People were anxious to get out of the house and find some new wardrobe items. It really helped some of the stores that were hit hard by the inclement weather.”
At Poleci on West 14th Street, there was also an interest in fall styles. The first sunny day after eight soggy ones, and a crisp one at that, put shoppers in a mind for fall, said Chris Easter, manager.
“The weekend was amazing. There was traffic on the street. We did pretty good business with outerwear and sweaters last weekend.”
But Easter isn’t completely dismissive of rain. “When it rains and people are in the mood to shop they’ll stay in a store longer,” he explained. “You can really get to know people. We sell more items to fewer customers.”
Taywan Ramnarace, store manager of Nine West on West 34th Street, said the weather definitely contributed to strong sales over the weekend. “Yesterday [Sunday] we got caught off guard,” he said. “Our business ended up 25 percent higher than what was planned. It was so slow the previous weekend. Our business for the season hasn’t been where we’d like it to be, but lately it’s getting better.”
People were buying boots, outerwear, cold weather accessories such as scarves and lots of belts. “You could feel the cold weather coming,” said Ramnarace.
Lori Hirshleifer, of the multidesigner store Hirshleifer’s at the Americana Manhasset in Manhasset, N.Y., said, “It was tremendous; we had a huge weekend. On Saturday, people came out of the woodwork.”
Hirshleifer estimated that 60 percent of the weekend’s sales were in accessories, including handbags and shoes. “The sun came out and it was, ‘Oh my God.’ They were ready to come out,” she said.
Jeffrey Kalinsky’s high-end customer was also feeling deprived after eight days of rain. “We had a phenomenal Saturday and a really great Sunday,” said the owner of Jeffrey New York on West 14th Street. We did the kind of business that we usually do in September. It’s been a terrific fall.”
“Our new SoHo boutique was especially busy this weekend,” said Khajak Keledjian, chief executive officer of Intermix. “I could tell people were excited that the weather was finally cooling down so they could wear their new fall purchases. Our best-selling pieces were Chloé suede stacked-heel boots, Seven For All Mankind long denim skirts and LaROK edgy blazers and henlys.”
When it rains, some people don’t want to drive but others rush to the mall for cover. The Mall at Short Hills, in Short Hills, N.J., was packed over the weekend, which general manager Mike McAvinue chalked up to pent-up demand.
“The store managers were very impressed with traffic over the weekend,” he said. “It felt like Christmas around here.”
Retailers have long been accused by Wall Street of using the weather as an excuse for disappointing sales. Emanuel Weintraub, a retail consultant, said that while retailers may go overboard, the truth is that weather dominates our reality. “I’m a great believer in the laws of human nature,” he said. “Weather influences our behavior.”