Belfast Telegraph

US retailers count the cost of freak weather

Blizzards in the north east of America have hit retail and airline companies hard over the festive period.

The timing of the freak weather meant disruption for scores of people travelling after Christmas and impacted heavily on the shopping sales season and the return to work for many commuters

Six US states, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia all declared emergencies.

The conditions caused shopping malls to close early, while shoppers heeded official warnings to avoid travelling by car.

Retail shares declined in the wake of the bad weather, although some experts have predicted that the storms will boost online sales.

The Standard -amp; Poor's Retail Index fell 0.5% on Monday morning, while the broader S-amp;P 500 was down just 0.1%.

Amazon.com announced on Monday that it had record e-book sales this holiday season.

While the north eastern shoppers were unable to help boost the already depressed US economy, in non-storm affected areas, retail demand remained healthy.

Tens of thousands of air passengers were also hit by the storms and airline industry analysts forecast that the cost to airlines could reach $100m (£64m).

National rail operator Amtrak and the New York Subway were also badly affected.

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