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Unseasonably cold headwind blows against US corporations

It’s been a brisk spring for much of North America. Keep that in mind as we get continue to get economic data on April and May. We’re already hearing about it from corporations.

To wit, Macy’s put its solid first-quarter earnings this morning in the context of cold temperatures hitting the US. “We are especially pleased with our first quarter sales and earnings performance given the challenges we overcame in this period. These included sustained, unseasonably cool spring weather in our northern climate zones,” said Terry J. Lundgren, Macy’s CEO.

Likewise, agricultural equipment company John Deere cited chilly weather as a reason to temper expectations on results from the current quarter. “Cool, wet weather in North America has delayed crop planting, slowed construction activity and hurt sales of turf-care equipment,” said Deere CEO Samuel Allen in the company’s statement after reporting record earnings for the just-finished quarter. As we’ve pointed out before, the weather can be both a convenient excuse and a legitimate reason for reduced sales for some companies, especially retailers.

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