Over the next week, Hurricane Sandy will be stopping by the east coast, but what do all the fashion retailers do in a time like this?
The storm is expected to fly up the east coast and possibly reach North Carolina before leaving west to hit the cold winds… Thankfully next week is not a major sales period in the market, however sales on Halloween costumes and outfits have in fact dropped. The hypothesis: People are spending what they would have on a costume on clean up equipment, canned foods, candles, bottled water, etc…
With all of the warnings of ice, power lines falling, blackouts, etc. companies are doing what they can to prepare.
“Sears has an all-hazards emergency management program which responds to any natural or man-made disaster,” said Jim Waldrop, manager for corporate crisis and emergency operations. “We are very, very prepared. You can’t predict exactly what will happen.”
Waldrop said that Sears has a third-party vendor that in times such as these will provide disaster response and recovery. When hurricanes prepare to meet these stores Waldrop conference calls the regional vice presidents and other field officials to let them know how they will get their store through the hurricane step by step. With Sears they have also established a hotline of “check-ins” where they can call at any time to check on the status of a store.
“We try to stay open as long as possible to support our customer base, but safety is paramount,” said Waldrop. He also said that Sears and Target have met before to “share and exchange best practices” for dealing with events such as these.
“We are proactive about this. We put in a lot of protocols that anticipate many different scenarios,” said a spokeswoman for Ann Inc., Operator of the Ann Taylor and Loft specialty chains. Ann Inc. has and will be sending e-mails to employees at its stores and New York headquarters updating the storm’s path.
At Macy’s Inc. the employees take time to make sure nothing is on the outside of the store could be hurled into the stores front as well as establishing reliable communication systems on the inside of the store to reach employees as needed.
At Target, “The safety and well-being of our team members and communities is a top concern,” said a spokeswoman. “In the event of any major storm, Target helps prepare our team before the storm hits and acts afterwards to provide the specific resources the community needs to recover. Currently we are preparing our stores in the path of the storm by supplying essentials such as batteries and dry food. In addition, we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that after the storm, in the event of power loss, perishable items are replenished quickly.”
So no matter what you are dressing up like for Halloween, remember to be safe this weekend and stock up on emergency supplies.