A massive snowstorm sweeping across the East Coast of the U.S. deprived retailers of what might have been the best shopping weekend of the holiday season. "The snowstorm came on the most important shopping day of the season, if not the year, and hit the most important market in the United States," said John Morris, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets. The storm affected about 25% of a typical retailer's national market, Morris said.

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