Efforts shifted to disaster relief as retailers scrambled to stock supplies ranging from water to batteries.
Halloween was hit hard, although the rush to sell batteries, water, flashlights and other needs offset some candy and decorating losses.
But, now executives wonder if Sandy will steal Christmas.
Charting the course for the upcoming holiday season is as difficult as predicting the path of a storm, buyers and manufacturers said. Most have downgraded holiday expectations from gains of 6 percent in beauty to more modest 3 to 4 percent increases.
No one debates that residual damage from the storm will impact not only Americans’ moods. However, those in the beauty business hope there is enough time between the disaster and actual shopping that spirits will be brighter and that the beauty category will offer a cheery gift idea.
There are signs that consumers want to get back to shopping.
Already, retailers told of shoppers — many who had been stuck inside without power —venturing out to stores for needs or just to see neighbors.
A Walgreens in Hillsborough, N.J., was operating with limited power — welcoming throngs of customers, many of whom said they couldn’t be cooped up any longer. Restaurants had two-hour waits as residents sought warmth, light and food. Target stores allowed people to charge phones and use Wi-Fi.
Much of November sales gains will hinge upon how many stores the major chains can open, and how fast they can do it. And, of course, online commerce depends upon people getting Internet access restored. Estimates from Planalytics, a weather-related planning organization, said most national U.S. chains have at least 10 percent of stores in affected markets. Some suppliers estimated the markets hardest hit account for 15 percent to 20 percent of their beauty sales.
By the end of Wednesday, Walgreens said that more than two-thirds of the 750 stores initially closed due to the storm had reopened, leaving only 239 still closed. More than a dozen were open without power and 55 were open despite light or moderate damage. Numerous stores are operating with electric generators, 180 of which were stationed in advance of the storm for rapid deployment. Walgreens has nearly 1,400 stores in the impacted area.
CVS said it was down to 68 closures. Rite Aid said the vast majority of stores are open.
Beauty executives — both manufacturers and buyers — were getting back to work Thursday, crafting plans to put Christmas back on track.
“I think over the next four to six weeks, beauty sales will be down considerably,” said Barry Shields, managing partner in Innovative Beauty Group. His company produces Red Carpet Manicure, a line poised for a huge sales explosion this holiday, according to retailers. “I think women’s priorities in this area [hit hardest by the storm] will be to care for their families,” said Shields. However, he added that while “the majority of household discretionary spending may go to other more important items like a new roof or tree removal, the idea of a ‘pick-me-up treat’ from a cost effective beauty item won’t go away.”
Shawn Haynes, vice president of retail sales at E.l.f. Cosmetics, believes that the time in between healing from the storm to actually shopping could help. “There is enough time to put the storm behind us, the weather to cool off and consumers to get out and shop,” he said. That might dash chains’ plans to get Christmas sales churning early and buyers did admit they may have to slash prices sooner than planned.
One retail executive said it is too soon to call Christmas. “We took a hit at Halloween because the storm happened on the highest volume days [for candy]. The result will be based on how many stores reopen. Christmas depends on when life gets back to normal.”
Retailers were quick to add they felt lessons from past storms helped them gear up in the right locations with merchandise to help people prepare. Also, at press time, several hoped for a sales blip on candy as towns rescheduled Halloween trick-or-treating for over the weekend.
On the supplier side, there are some fears of production problems — a situation other categories, which are produced in other parts of America, or the world, won’t experience. Some beauty companies said their plants are without power and water, halting manufacturing.
The nation’s retailers are already jumping in to help, with Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid among those earmarking funds to aid relief efforts.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)