What gets shoppers in the holiday spending mood?

Hands down it’s the weather, and many local merchants agree.

“When it is cold people shop,” J.C. Penney Store Manager, Cecil Skinner said. “It is like turning the water on and off.”

He said when the cold snap hit on Nov. 15 sales went up.

“When the temperature is hot and the humidity is high it affects sales,” Skinner said. “We just do not have the merchandise for the weather.”

He added the reverse is true for the spring months when they have the warm weather merchandise and the weather is still cold.

Beall’s manager Patty Palmer also sees the correlation between the weather and sales.

“Weather makes a huge difference,” she said. “The colder, nastier, and wetter the weather, the better sales are.”

Palmer is hoping for a cold snap this weekend to boost the after-Thanksgiving shopping.

As for music, Skinner really does not see a direct correlation between it and sales.

“It does get you in the right frame of mind for the holidays,” he said. “But I can’t really say if it affects sales.”

Palmer agreed the music gets people in the shopping mood.

“It is just a reminder that Christmas is coming and they have to get the holiday gifts purchased,” Palmer said, “The music keeps the season in front of the shoppers’ minds.”

Skinner did add the holiday music played in the stores does brighten the mood.

There are several research studies that show music does have an impact on the way people shop.

“There’s quite a lot of evidence that music can have different kinds of impacts on various kinds of customer behavior,’’ Adrian North, a psychology professor at the University of Leicester in England, wrote in a recent paper published on the RetailBiz Web site.

North is one of only a few music psychologists studying the effect of music in a range of situations.

Music can influence the speed with which people shop, their willingness to spend, their perceptions of value, and more, he says.

North said if you want shoppers to linger in the store play slow music, if you want them to race through, play faster songs.

But as for holiday music specifically, North did not have any data to say for certain if it has an affect of the spending habits of shoppers.