As snow crippled the region, retailers lamented the millions of dollars in lost business as potential shoppers stayed home.

Some, like The Walk outlet mall in Atlantic City, closed today - one of the most critical retail weekends of the year.

"You don't want to lose one minute, let alone one day," said Kim Butler, general manager of the 100-store A.C. Outlets The Walk in the heart of Atlantic City that would have been opened 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today if not for the severe weather.

"The Saturday before the Christmas holiday is always a big business day and you hate to lose it," she said, "but somtimes you have to do what you have to do.

"We didn't want to put anyone in danger and our employees at risk," Butler said. "It seemed the right thing to do given the forecast."

So instead of watching the usual overflow crowds at the 12-block outlet mall like previous years during this time of year, Butler worked the phones all day with snow plow crews and got updated weather forecasts to share with the Walk's merchants.

Butler said snow plows have been working around-the-clock since 4 a.m. and continued all day long to clear the sidewalks that form the perimeter around the shops that include Nike, Liz Claiborne and Brooks Brothers.

"This will give the road crews and everyone a chance to prepare and get cleaned up," she said. "As it tapers off, we will be on top of it and be ready to open."

Butler said The Walk will reopen at 9 am tomorrow as the latest forecast has snow clearing in Atlantic City by early Sunday.

"If the weather breaks early enough tomorrow, I think we'll recover," Butler said. "We'll try to make up some time."

She and retailers throughout the region and whole Northeast can only hope.

Contact staff writer Suzette Parmley at 215-854-2594 or sparmley@phillynews.com.