January 15, 2012 5:00 AM

Mild winter cheers utility customers but hurts hardware stores

Leroy Andrews, after more than 40 years in the hardware business, has never seen a winter quite like this one. The Kansas City area’s relatively balmy temperatures even spurred sales of "exterior" house paint as homeowners took advantage of the good weather. But the problem, said the store manager of Strasser True Value Hardware, is that he still has mounds of snow shovels, ice melt and other cold-weather goods that have been slow sellers.

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