Snowstorm Cuts Sales, But May Mean Stronger Week

The snowstorm that blanketed the East Coast this weekend closed malls in the hardest-hit areas during the final shopping weekend before Christmas. But elsewhere, last-minute shoppers gave retailers strong traffic.

Looking to lure snowed-in easterners, retail Web sites including Macy's and J.C. Penney are offering free express shipping. Traffic to retail Web sites spiked all weekend.

Elsewhere, people crowded malls looking for steep sales of 60 to 70 percent off, but such clearance discounting mostly wasn't there.

Retailers now head into final days before Christmas hoping shoppers will make up for lost time.

NPD Research Group's Marshal Cohen says people have a plan for the rest of their shopping, so the net effect from the storms could be small.


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