Long Island is over it.
Snow fatigue has set in so deeply that four nor’easters in the last three weeks haven’t given a big boost to sales at hardware and grocery stores — businesses that tend to do well when snow is forecast, store managers said.
Spring officially began Tuesday, the day before 14.9 inches of snow fell at MacArthur Airport, and consumers are ready for warm weather to take its rightful place, retailers said.
Some business owners and managers said snow this late in March hasn’t sent customers scrambling to stores for shovels, milk and bread as would normally be the case.
“By this time of year, the people are pretty much over it,” said Dan Arthur, president of the Stew Leonard’s grocery chain’s East Meadow and East Farmingdale stores.
Before snowstorms, comfort foods such as macaroni and cheese and canned soup tend to sell well at the Norwalk, Connecticut-based grocery chain, which has six locations, in New York State and Connecticut.
“[Now] we see a little push when people realize they’re going to be in for a day or two. It’s not really that panic mentality that we have” early in the winter season, Arthur said.
Trio Hardware in Plainview would normally see strong sales of fertilizer, seeds, plants and other outdoor items this time of year as homeowners get their yards ready for warm days, but this month’s snowy weather has delayed those sales, co-owner Todd Kirschner said.
“It’s been kind of bleak. . . . We’re kind of like in a lull,” he said.
The Northeast has lost between $3 billion and $3.5 billion in retail and restaurant sales this month due to snowstorms, according to Planalytics, a Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based company that quantifies the economic impacts of weather.
“These are sales that don’t take place and don’t come back,” said Evan Gold, Planalytics’ executive vice president. For example, a snowed-in person who didn’t buy his normal morning cup of coffee at a shop will not buy two cups of coffee the next day to make up for it.
Restaurant traffic in the New York City metro area was down 8 percent last week compared with the same week last year, Gold said. Traffic at outlet shopping centers was down 15 percent.
Restaurants, small businesses and hourly employees that are not getting paid get hit the hardest during bad weather, Gold said. Specialty apparel and mall-based retailers will lose some profitability because the retail prices of goods will be lower later in the spring and summer seasons, he said.
Furthermore, despite the widespread notion that snowstorms are good for business at hardware stores and home centers, “spring is their Christmas” — they want people spending money for fertilizer, grass seeds, exterior paint and lawnmowers for outdoor work at their homes, Gold said.
Nationwide, sales of those products were down 10 percent to 15 percent last week compared with the same week last year.
There are some businesses that still will reap benefits in inclement weather, such as restaurants that deliver and service-based businesses, such as tree removal companies, Gold said.
Long Island has seen record-breaking snowfall recently.
Snowfall of 18.4 inches at the airport on Wednesday and Thursday broke a two-day record for the month, which had been set March 21 and 22, 1967, when 17 inches fell, said Faye Morrone, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.
Between Oct. 1 and March 22, 47.3 inches of snow fell. The normal total for that period is 23.5 inches.
Bacaro Italian Tavern, a restaurant in Massapequa, lost about $20,000 in sales this month due to weather-related closings, co-owner Tom Soluri said.
He and his business partner, Joe Bonacore, did not open the restaurant Wednesday, rather than risk 20 employees getting stranded at work, Soluri said.
“That’s $8,000 for that day that you just don’t get back, no matter how busy it might be this weekend,” he said.