Can we say "hurrah for the chill"? That's the snake oil some in the biz press are trying to sell. This story takes a narrow data point from Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and extrapolates it across an entire business segment.

We Fools see this kind of nonsense all the time, but we never get tired of ridiculing it. Sure, the cold may have helped Wal-Mart, which said something like, "People with stuff dripping out of their noses and their cars stuck in snow drifts came in to buy sweaters and shovels."

I think you can get that stuff at Costco (NASDAQ:COST), but oddly enough, the sales numbers there didn't please. Did chilly air help Gap (NYSE:GPS) improve its sales? (And by "improve," I mean, "flatline.")

Somehow, I doubt it. After all, we also saw Limited Brands (NYSE:LTD) post good results, led by Bath and Body Works, Express, and Victoria's Secret. Last time I was in those places, I didn't see many items that would qualify as cold-weather gear.

In fact, the nice jump in comps at American Eagle Outfitters (NASDAQ:AEOS) was attributed to sales of spring gear. That just goes to show you that "one size fits all" only holds true in the vapid brains of headline writers.

I guarantee you that, had a lot of companies showed lousy sales, the headlines would have read "Cold snap keeps consumers at home." Any excuse in a storm.

Gap, American Eagle, and Costco are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Gap and Wal-Mart are Inside Value picks. Limited Brands is an Income Investor selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletters free for 30 days.

At the time of publication, Seth Jayson had shares of American Eagle but no positions in any other company mentioned. Comments? Bring them here. See his latest blog commentary here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.