It’s day two of Sandy’s aftermath and the picture of how this disaster is impacting retail and the industry is becoming a little clearer (though, power outages and transportation problems will continue to complicate things at least through the week).
When can we shop?
Many stores are expected to open today in some form. Bloomingdale’s 59th street location, and Bergdorf’s, Nicole Miller’s Madison Ave store is open. Stores like Tiffany, Target and Coach seem to be playing it by ear–opening depending on power restoration and employees’ ability to get to work.
Most stores did not open Tuesday–not necessarily because of damage, but because of employees’ inability to get to work–a problem that looks to have no end in sight, as inspectors have only begun to assess the damage to subways. Buses, however, have begun running.
One retailer whose employees really took one for the team was Barneys, including CEO Mark Lee, who was actually in the store working, along with COO Danielle Vitale, according to WWD. It was also apparently the place to be–Nicolas Ghesquiere and Alexander Wang went shopping there. This comes as no surprise–the day after (the albeit less severe) Irene hit last year, the Barneys warehouse sale was open.
Stock and bond markets also reopened today.
How much money are cities and retailers losing?
Here are some staggering numbers to freak you out:
$10 billion to $20 billion: potential economic damages estimated by insurance consultancy Eqecat
$4 billion: estimated amount in economic damages per day caused by the shutdown of the subway system in NYC
$30 billion to $50 billion: possible total economic losses according to IHS Global Insight U.S. economists Gregory Daco and Nigel Gault
Mark Montagna, senior analyst at Avondale Partners, told WWD that specialty retailers with their own inventory will be the hardest hit by Sandy. “This group is likely to face lost sales and will resort to markdowns, if necessary, to keep inventory on plan heading into Thanksgiving week.”
Could retailers benefit from Sandy?
Not surprisingly, “home centers, mass merchants and grocery stores” experienced a surge of business preceding the hurricane–for which we have the media and their incessant pre-Sandy coverage to thank.
From a personal perspective, I can confirm (and people I’ve talked to have mentioned) that something about this disaster has made me want to spend money wherever I can. I’m not sure why, but as I was walking to Starbuck’s (temporary Fashionista office!) from an apartment I’m staying at in the UWS (a neighborhood I am unfamiliar with) I made note of at least three stores I want to stop in on my way back if they’re open. I’m also very curious about the newish Century 21 that must be somewhere around here. This is probably not how I should be spending what little money I have, but at least I’m helping the economy?
How is this worse than past natural disasters?
This storm “stretched over 900 miles, impacted about a third of the U.S. population and lasted longer than most storms,” WWD reports. Plus there are the 8 million power outages and lack of transportation options.
In other fashion-related Sandy news, dogs and cats dressed up real cute to weather Sandy and its after-effects; the Village Halloween Parade has been cancelled, so no opportunity to show off your fashiony costume/get trampled by drunk people; and the sun is coming out so you can wear cute sunglasses.
How are you doing post-Sandy? We hope you’re all safe and sound!