The winter of 2015 can be best described using one phrase: El Niño. How has this unseasonable weather impacted company performance? Did weather forecasts come in early enough to alter winter business strategies? 


According to Accuweather, each of December’s 31 days have been warmer, sometimes very significantly, than their historical averages.[1] One of the largest spreads came on December 24, in which the high temperature in New York nearly doubled its historic average (72 degrees in 2015 compared to the 40 degree average).

CNBC reported that “this year will be remembered for unusually warm weather when the season typically brings snow and ice. On much of the East Coast, December felt like spring, complete with early blooming flowers and sprouting daffodils.”[2] Time magazine initially forecast this warm winter, driven by El Niño, as early as mid-October.[3]

I used AlphaSense to conduct 1 search across all company transcripts for this simple keyword string: unseasonable OR warm weather OR warm winter to quickly find the following data points:

Cintas Corp ($CTAS) – Transcript, December 21, 2015
“And when we don’t have that snow, we have fewer mat placements, and cold weather also helps us get some additional revenue… So it’s hard to quantify, but we do know that there’s some softness as a result of that seasonal fluctuation.”

Duluth Holdings ($DLTH) – Transcript, December 17, 2015
“In the Northeast, where people are used to cold weather, and not getting it, our business isn’t growing at quite the same rate.”

General Mills ($GIS) – Transcript, December 17, 2015
“Cold winters tend to be good for us and so far, it’s been an unusually warm season, and we think that’s a key factor with the overall market right now.”

DAVIDsTEA Inc ($DTEA) – Transcript, December 10, 2015
“The unseasonably warm fall weather has resulted in lower mix of our highest margin loose leaf tea and beverage categories.”

Men’s Wearhouse ($MW) – Transcript, December 10, 2015
“The Jos. Bank business has a disproportionate amount of cold weather business and gift giving business. We are suffering a slowdown in that business.”

Express ($EXPR) – Transcript, December 03, 2015
“Unseasonable warm weather somewhat affected sales of outerwear and heavy sweaters.”

Dick’s Sporting Goods ($DKS) – Transcript, November 17, 2015
“A lot of what we feel is caused by the warm weather so the guys haven’t had to buy any jackets, boots, socks, layering pieces. That’s all been — it’s all pretty difficult, and we expect it will continue.”

Using AlphaSense, I downloaded a file with a list of companies and related discussion snippets found in this search.

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1. New York December 2015 Weather,
2. Feeling a little warm this year? 2015 will set a record,
3. Strong El Niño to Bring Warm Winter to Much of U.S.,