Something as horrific as the Boston Marathon bombing doesn’t just go away. If September 11, 2011 is any indication, the city will feel its repercussions for years to come. But there’s one big difference between now and then. Today, we live in a world that is sadly more prepared for such tragedies.
That’s why experts predict that Boston’s retailers will stay ‘Boston strong’ over the next year instead of losing sales. “I almost think it’s going to have the opposite effect,” says Ken Morris, a partner at consulting firm Boston Retail Partners. “People are pissed off. They’ll go out of their way to support local businesses to prove ‘we’re tougher than this.’”
“I think what it is an acceptance of reality,” adds Robert Passikoff, Ph.D., founder of New York-based retail consulting firm Brand Keys. “When people understand that support is needed, they turn out.”
Even on Saturday, when the majority of shops on Boylston Street (the scene of the attacks) and Newbury Street (the city’s Fifth Avenue equivalent) finally reopened, the crowds were relatively thick. “It was quite busy Saturday,” a manager at Chico’s in The Shops at the Prudential Center—a mall very close to where the bombings occurred—told WWD. And a Brooks Brothers regional sales manager told the trade paper that his nine stores in the area are reporting “strong business to plan.”
Of course, even if sales snap back to normal fairly quickly, financial setbacks have already happened. The city’s businesses lost $250-$350 million during the lockdown, as reported by Time.com. Passikoff warns that the number sounds a lot worse than it is for apparel retailers. “If you needed a shirt last week and you didn’t get it, you probably still need it this week,” he says.
The resilience of the community may also prove to lessen the impact of that loss.
“The mentality is, ‘We have to get back to business, we can’t let this affect the stock market or buying patterns,’” says Morris. “We’ve got to work through it. We can’t give [the terrorists] what they want.”