Ninety years ago, entrepreneurs Sidney Colgate (as in Colgate-Palmolive) and A. Lincoln Filene (as in Filene's Basement) became unlikely comrades in rallying support for daylight saving time, theorizing that an extra hour of daylight would benefit their businesses. But the benefits haven't been universal. Various industries have cheered, complained, or merely been confused by the impact of that extra bit of sunlight on their bottom line.
Sporting goods: winner
Sales rely on physically fit consumers who take advantage of longer daylight hours to stay outside using their cleats, mitts, and racquets.
While an extra hour of sunlight every evening lets courses schedule more happy-hour tee times, it also means that early-morning (read: retired) enthusiasts lose an hour of the only sport that can't be played under lights.
Convenience stores: winners
They can't make money with their customers hunkered down at home — but when people are hanging out and enjoying that extra hour of daylight by having a picnic or sharing a six-pack, the cash flows.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 pushed the end of daylight saving time into November, leaving that extra hour intact for Halloween. The candy industry is widely thought to have lobbied for the extension, even though the National Confectioners Association says that's not so.
The extra hour of daylight extends the midday sales peak and boosts shopping in the evening. Outdoor shopping malls, unsurprisingly, fare particularly well.
Bound as they are to Mother Nature's clock, farmers have been known to fight D.S.T. legislation. But Jim Benham, president of the Indiana Farmers Union (and who grows corn and soybeans and raises cattle), says that the late sunrise in March hasn't bothered him.
TV networks: losers
Every year, when the hour shifts ahead, ratings decline briefly for the prime-time slot, says Preston Beckman, executive vice president of strategic program planning and research for Fox Broadcasting. Still, a Nielsen Media Research spokesperson cautions against blaming the sun: the closer to summer, the higher the likelihood of reruns.