Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Post-Sandy Retail Report: Stores Take a Financial Hit, Barneys Reopens and Looting In the South Street Seaport

Photo: Getty

As Hurricane Sandy moves on and New Yorkers are left to clean up the city, the full extent of the damage is becoming increasingly clear.

One particularly hard hit area, at least fiscally, is retail, both in the city and beyond as stores were forced to close their doors to brace for the storm. This morning, WWD reported that across the eastern seaboard, retailers lost an estimated total of between $350 to 550 million dollars per day; NYC-based stores could be losing as much as $30 million per day of closure. With most stores shuttering early Sunday in anticipation of Sandy, and remaining closed yesterday and today, that’s a lot of money lost.

So it can hardly be a surprise that retailers are eager to reopen their doors to potential shoppers. There’s just one problem–buses won’t start running again until this evening and the subway system likely won’t open for another four or five days, which means employees will have a hard time getting to work. Saks Fifth Avenue, which boarded up their flagship store, remains closed today, as well as its outposts in hard-hit areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, Henri Bendel, and Macy’s are among the other major department stores who remained closed today. Online retailer Net-a-Porter temporarily suspended its next-day delivery service within the city.

There is at least one store on the island where you can get your luxury retail fix though–Barneys New York tweeted that their store on Madison Avenue will be open for business today. It’s good news for tourists who may have been stranded in the city looking for something to do (and for those New Yorkers who just have to buy a Céline bag–to commemorate surviving Sandy?).

But while initial reports suggested that the recovery efforts were proceeding calmly, new reports are emerging of looting in Brooklyn and the South Street Seaport. Gothamist talked to a security guard at the South Street Seaport who witnissed about a dozen looters at the Brookstone store in the South Street Seaport. The site also mentioned unconfirmed reports of looting in the Rockaways in Queens.

Despite all this, we are a city that likes to shop. We received a photo from a tipster of a crowded shoe store on 34th street–people must really want Uggs? And StyleBistro’s Danica Lo tweeted a photo of a surprisingly long line in front of an Aldo. Just another way New Yorkers are showing their resilience today.

Suzanne Snyder Alek Wek

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