To our East Coast readership — we hope you’ve all stayed holed up, safe, dry, and reasonably well-entertained. As Hurricane Sandy abates, here’s what’s happening in the retail sector. Unfortunately, but expected, store losses from necessary closures will be high, but post-hurricane estimates at least imply some kind of silver lining:
- With stores closed up and down the eastern seaboard, total losses could add up to between $350 and $500 million a day, WWD reports.
- Last-minute Halloween-related sales were another sector that got hit, although stores might have made up for the loss with sales in other areas (like flashlights and batteries).
- The technology sector also met delays, with firms like Google and Facebook delaying product launches. Google was set to introduce a new smartphone at the beginning of this week, while Facebook was going to launch its Gifts program, at FAO Schwartz in New York.
- Losses from damages and necessary repair work haven’t yet been factored in to most estimates, but will become clearer later in the week.
- Overall losses, however, might be mitigated by post-storm construction and retail spending. Meanwhile, lost work hours are also predicted to be less severe than in the past, with many employees able to work from home.
- One “silver lining” that didn’t go over so well? Last minute Sandy-themed sales and free shipping offers. As Racked pointed out, most consumers felt the hurricane was too serious to warrant this kind of marketing.
In general, retail executives across the board cited the importance of employees’ safety over the potential severity of losses from two days’ worth of closure. For those of you on the East Coast, we hope all returns to normal soon. And regarding those Sandy-sales, what do you make of retailers’ attempts to capitalize on a consumer base stuck at home?