Let It Snow, Already

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The trees are starting to go up, the colored lights are being turned on and shoppers are flocking to the malls. The only problem is that no one told Old Man Winter. Around many parts of the U.S. it continues to feel like springtime. "The good news is that warm weather does tend to bring shoppers to the malls," says senior economics reporter Bernard Baumohl. "The bad news is that many retailers of winter gear will get hit hard." <

Indeed, the nation's largest retailers are already reporting slow sales of winter clothing, and many vendors are finding themselves surrounded with lots of cold-weather merchandise. Low gas prices, rebounding consumer sentiment and the resurgence of the stock market are all expected to keep people shopping, notes Baumohl, and that's expected to be good news for sellers of electronic goods, toys and books. But the holiday shopping season might be cheerier if it cooled off a bit -- weather-wise, that is.