East Coast snowstorm threatens to rain on retailers' parade

Today's snowstorm in the northeast could play the Grinch for retailers hoping to cash in on the last weekend before Christmas.

Super Saturday is touted as the biggest shopping day of the year. Today is when many are expected to flock to the stores and wrap up their last minute gift buying.

An estimated $15 million changes hands on Super Saturday, according to weather consultancy Planalytics. The day is particularly crucial this year because many are procrastinating their Holiday shopping in the hopes of grabbing sweet deals at the last minute.

Shoppers aren't likely to go out in droves this year and it won't be because of the slumping economy, Scott Bernhardt, Planalytics' chief operating officer told the Dow Jones Newswires. "Are you going to head to the mall when it's snowing or even flurrying outside? This is very bad news for retailers," Bernhardt said.

Retail gurus have already predicted flat sales this Holiday season. The storm might dip sales further unless shoppers are feeling adventurous enough to brave the weather. The Washington Post reported that a blizzard warning is in effect in the D.C. area, and authorities have cautioned folks to stay home.

The storm, however, could drive up online sales for stores. Also, shovels, salts and such could keep the cash registers ringing for the next two days. But will that be enough to make up for the procrastinators who may never make it to the stores?

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