In Shirt-Sleeve Holiday Season, Overcoats Linger on the Racks - New York Times:
Retailers are calling it the Coat Crisis of 2006, a fashion fiasco measured in racks of unsold fur-lined shearlings at Saks Fifth Avenue and down puffer jackets at Bloomingdale’s.
Balmy temperatures on the East Coast, with average highs this holiday season 15 degrees warmer than last year, have been disastrous for sales of all kinds of cold-weather clothing, from cashmere caps to wool scarves.
What seemed like a meteorological aberration — the coatless, hatless, gloveless morning commute in Washington, New York and Boston — is starting to feel like the new normal, encouraging consumers to splurge on a flat-screen television instead of a peacoat.
The glut of winter wear has sent a chill through the executive suites of major retailers, who count on big profits from coats in the crucial holiday shopping season. They are even starting to grumble about the first “global warming Christmas.”