The blizzard that struck the Northeast on the day after Christmas, typically the third or fourth busiest shopping day of the year, is expected to lead to greater markdowns as stores make up for any lost sales.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Richard Jaffe, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, predicted that Sunday's major snowstorm could hurt December same-store sales by 1% to 1.5%. The last week of December contributes about 15 percent to 20% of overall December sales, and just under one-third of national retail sales take place in the snow-hit areas, Mr. Jaffe said.

Parts of New York and New Jersey received as much as two feet of snow over the past few days, keeping many shoppers at home. Several stores closed early Sunday evening as weather conditions worsened and delayed openings on Monday. On the positive side, the storm's arrival in the early afternoon at least led to strong morning sales.

The day is largely known for returns but stores put additional merchandise on sale to drive incremental purchases. They also hope clearance sales will be scooped up during on the day to avoid the need for steeper promotions later on.