Harsh weather means harsh conditions for retailers & restaurants

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POSTED: Friday, February 14, 2014 - 8:00am

UPDATED: Friday, February 14, 2014 - 8:14am

Bad weather means bad news for retailers.

When stores close, people aren't buying.

The Commerce Department says weather helped slow sales almost half a percent last month. This month's numbers could be worse. "It's scary when this happens and I keep seeing the forecast and I'm like 'Please, don't snow," said Dawn Oesch of The Candy Company

Candy stores and florists are especially concerned about Valentine's deliveries today.

When asked how much they could lose if they were closed, one florist replied, "Thousands of dollars." "We get about 80 people to just come work for the holiday and we can't ask them to be out in those conditions."

Tourism's taking a hit in Washington - museums are closed.

When school close, some parents have to stay home and babysit. "People staying home from work, those are lost hours. People not going to the mall, those are lost sales," said Steve Liesman, CNBC Analyst.

The National Retail Federation says sales were flat from December to January, but auto dealers lost one-point-seven billion. They blame weather. Airlines lost 150 billion.

Restaurants suffer when no one wants to go outside. "When the weather comes in like this, 75% of business is shot but we open up and hope some people come," said one restauranteur.

This D.C. restaurant cut prices 50% hoping to lure people suffering from cabin fever, and save their bottom line.

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