Cold Storms Hit Nation's Economy - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Cold Storms Hit Nation's Economy

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John Bruno has been selling cars in New York City for 14 years. He says he's never seen winter weather put such a deep freeze on business. "Sales have been down significantly over the past few months for the simple fact that people just don't want to brave the weather."

A string of snowstorms shut down Bruno's auto dealership for five days and sales are down as much as 50%. And the auto industry isn't the only one getting the cold shoulder.

The harsh winter out east has kept shoppers at home. And by at least one estimate, that has cost the economy $50 billion. Home sales plunged in January to the lowest level in a year and a half. Airlines and passengers lost billions on canceled flights. Businesses dipped 1% at restaurants. And other than winter supplies, retailers saw the biggest sales drop in nearly two years. Shoppers say they'd rather stay at home. "I don't want to shop. I don't want to shop. I don't want to do anything 'cause it's just so cold."

Fred Fox analyzes the weather's impact on the economy. He's worried consumers will cut back even more, when they get a look at their next heating bill. "Those heating bills are going to be some of the highest bills they've seen in years, maybe ever. As a result it's going to take money out of their pocket from spending."

John Bruno thinks car shoppers will be back, once spring, out here, has finally sprung.

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