Retailers in the Northeast are hoping that the next couple of months will be hot because sales, like the weather, have been cool.
The unusually harsh winter walloped the region and, while repairs on damaged pools have been robust, retail remains sluggish.
Many kids were in school through much of June to make up for epic snow days. That’s postponed openings of pools, softening demand for chemicals and equipment at a time of year when retailers expect a surge.
In Rhode Island, many pools were kept covered well past spring partly because pollen — a sure sign of summer — has been MIA. Many homeowners wait for trees to shed their debris before preparing their pools. “Pollen season is at least two weeks behind where it generally is,” said Debbi Leclerc, co-owner of The Pool Doctor of Rhode Island.
Unseasonably cool climes aren’t helping matters, either. “We just haven’t had the weather to create any sense of urgency,” Leclerc noted.
Sean Dougherty generally relies on a string of scorchers to motivate homeowners to stock up on supplies, but thermostats aren’t budging. “We have yet to have a day over 90 [degrees],” said the store manager at E-Z Test Pool Supplies in North Reading, Mass.
Profits lost during the first part of the season will be difficult to recover, and many retailers are adding store events to drive traffic.