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Consumers buy up coats at Glen Oaks’ Burlington

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"This weather is not like last year - it's worse," said her son, who identified himself as simply Abelardo of Bellerose. And so Abelardo took Nelly to the Glen Oaks Shopping Center's Burlington Coats store, where staff members said the cold temperatures of recent weeks have meant more sales of outerwear as the store nears its one-year anniversary.

"We sell a lot of coats," a saleswoman said as she paused from calling other stores in the chain to find a jacket for a customer in the right size. "We're like the busiest department," she said.

Her customer, Pamela Volpe of Flushing, said she worked as a school crossing guard. "I really want the coat," she said, eyeing the black full-length down coat made by Anne Klein. But, alas, it was the last one in stock and in the wrong size to boot.

"That's what everybody says: Those are the best for winter," the saleswoman said, referring to the full-length down coats.

The post-holiday season is typically a slow time of year for retailers, but the manager of Burlington Coats, who declined to give her name, said that while some items did not sell as well during cold weather, the additional coat sales more than made up for the other products in terms of revenue.

"The coats have a higher value," she said. One of the coats from the Baby Phat line, which the saleswoman said was the store's most popular outerwear label, sells for $219.98, although the original price is listed at $500.

Burlington Coats, a chain based in New Jersey, opened its 53,000- square-foot Glen Oaks store in March 2002. The manager of the location said the staff did not have any plans for the one-year anniversary, other than to tally up the books. As for the cold weather helping to ensure the books remain in the black, she admitted to mixed feelings.

"I don't like being cold -- for myself," she said with a laugh. "But yes, it's good for the store."

Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by calling 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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