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A blizzard is more than inconvenient. It costs governments and businesses series amounts of money. When the streets are covered in snow, shoppers stay home, as did those in the Northeast on Sunday and Monday. In fact, according to recent estimates, the Northeast blizzard cost retainers $1 billion, according to ShopperTrak, a company providing shopper-traffic counting technology and data analysis. ShopperTrak found that Dec. 26 foot traffic was 11.2% off from what they had forecasted, CNN Money reports.
"As expected, the 2010 blizzard throughout the Northeast halted nearly all retail visits and spending during a period that is fairly crucial for retailers," ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said in a statement, the Boston Herald reports. Martin added that according to their analysis, Northeast malls and stores dropped over 6% from last year on the day after Christmas, as well as almost 43% on Monday, when potential shoppers were virtually snowed in.
"And at this point, the prospect of momentarily pausing a potential $1 billion in sales has the collective industry holding its breath." However Martin noted that in other regions of the country, foot traffic was up by nearly 40% on Sunday and 13% on Monday.
Then there is also the fact that more and more shoppers are buying online. That means that a downturn in brick and mortar stores doesn't necessarily mean a decline in sales overall. In fact, as reported in FindLaw's Common Law, Amazon recently made headlines when it announced a new return policy that would allow you to return unwanted gifts before it even ships.
ShopperTrak says that they predict a 4 percent increase in overall holiday sales. But what about the numbers for online retainers? Those numbers are expected to be released before the ice melts.