Retail weatherman sees bright skies for holiday

WAYNE, Pa. — Weather conditions for the holiday 2004 shopping season will be relatively favorable compared to last year, according to Planalytics' retail meteorologist.

Speaking during the strategic planning service's Sixth annual Holiday Outlook conference this afternoon, the company also predicted that the weather for the Black Friday kick-off to the holiday shopping season on Nov. 26 should show the most favorable year-over-year change logged by the service since 1999.As for the Christmas countdown weekend — this year, Dec. 17 to 19 — "We're pretty bullish on that one as well," said Paul Walsh, senior vice president of client services/retail meteorologist.He noted that weather patterns don't generally impact the amount spent by consumers for the holiday, but do strongly influence the timing and location of their shopping activity. Planalytics' outlook focuses on weather patterns in major markets from Thanksgiving through Christmas.Off-the-mall and big-box retailers will be the chief beneficiaries of this year's relatively warmer and dried winter compared to last year – when snowstorms in theMidwestand Northeast during the first two weekends of the season severely dampened sales, Walsh noted."Our take on the impact of weather (this year) is that it's going to be mostly positive," he added.

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