Out of a relatively balmy winter have sprung some economic surprises.
People have more cash in their pockets because they aren't turning up the thermostat. Airlines don't have to de-ice planes or battle blizzards. And shoppers are finding great deals on coats and boots.
But there are also disappointments. Merchants are stuck with unsold shovels and snow blowers. Drugstores say customers aren't buying cold medicine or getting as many flu shots.
The weather has been so mild that at some hardware outlets, rakes are flying off the shelf, and grass seed is outselling ice-melting salt.
The weather feels especially gentle after two straight seasons of bitter cold and heavy snow. And it will take much more than Friday's relatively moderate snowstorm in the Midwest and Northeast to change that.
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