Retailers were trying to recover Wednesday from an ice storm that walloped states from Oklahoma to Wisconsin, cutting power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses, closing schools and disrupting transportation.
Parts of Oklahoma City were especially hard hit, said Bob Benham, owner of Balliet's luxury store, which was able to stay open.
"There is so much damage, streets blocked, power lines down, trees down," he said. "This is the worst devastation I have seen in the 17 years that I've been here. The city looks like bombs were dropped."
States of emergency were declared in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma, and President Bush ordered federal emergency aid to Oklahoma. Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska also were affected.
"We've had to take it on the chin in a couple of markets" as the holiday shopping season heads into its final days, said Scott Baskin, president of Mark Shale, a men's and women's specialty store with eight locations in the Chicago area, Dallas, Atlanta, Kansas City and St. Louis.
In Chicago and its suburbs, which were hit by rain, not ice, "The threat was more damaging than the weather," Baskin said. Forecasters had warned of such treacherous conditions that it sounded like "don't go out or you'll die. No one died but the retailers....I hope people have postponed and not completely put off their shopping."
Utica Square Shopping Center in Tulsa, Okla., was open Wednesday after closing the previous day.
"It couldn't have come at a worse time for our tenants," said Steve Mackey, vice president of Helmerich & Payne, which owns the center.
Three Wal-Mart stores in Oklahoma remained closed Wednesday, said Jami LaMontagne, spokeswoman for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. "Our thoughts are with the people directly affected by this disaster. We have sent truckloads of relief supplies and merchandise to the Oklahoma City area."
In western Missouri, Joplin's Northpark Mall became a destination for people looking for something to do as they waited for power to be restored. The 990,000-square-foot mall features Sears, J.C. Penney, Macy's, Steve & Barry's and TJ Maxx.
"Christmas is all about planned purchases....We'll bounce back and we expect the momentum to carry us into the rest of the season," marketing manager Lori Jones said.
East Hills Mall in St. Joseph, Mo., was forced to close Tuesday afternoon with the exception of Sears. Operations manager Jayne Simerly said the mall reopened Wednesday and crowds had started to return.
"Before this we were struggling with warm weather, so now we are moving the boots, gloves and hats we wanted to sell before the holiday,'' she said.
Exclusive: Nicola Formichetti is parting ways with @diesel after nearly four years. Formichetti, who served as Lady Gaga’s stylist in 2009, joined Diesel in 2013 as creative and artistic director. His first show debuted in Venice with a show held at the Venetian Arsenal. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
The polo shirt - an icon of preppy style - is roaring back into fashion in many creative guises, like this A-line polyester top from @carven, worn with @31philliplim cotton and elastane pants. Designers stretched a fashion classic into all kinds of new permutations this season. See how @mayteallende styled the preppy trend on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📸 : Kinya)
(Market Editors: @andrew_shang and @elmercer, Makeup: @amandawilsonmakeup using @fentybeauty, Hair: @gonn24, Model: @bara_holotova at @women360mgmt)
“I do like period [projects] a lot because I like creating those worlds, a world that is different from today," costume designer Mark Bridges said about the '50s British couture featured in @phantomthread. Bridges created the overall aesthetic and individual fashion looks for the film, which stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville and Vicky Krieps. Pictured here is a gown he designed for Krieps who plays Alma – the love interest of Day-Lewis' character, Reynolds Woodcock. #wwdfashion
@prada is embracing the holiday season with a series of short movies about the art of gift-giving. "The Postman's Gifts", which was directed by American filmmaker Autumn de Wilde, focuses on the brand's signature Prada Galleria bag and features Elijah Wood as the postman. In the first two episodes, Wood's delivers the iconic bag to @emmaroberts, who plays herself as a movie star, and Sasha Frolova. #wwdfashion
“I think I never met the person while we were working,” Vicky Krieps said of Daniel Day-Lewis, who she plays the love interest of in “Phantom Thread.” Day-Lewis remained perennially in character, so much so that she feels she’s just meeting him now. “It’s interesting to see how different he is in real life to the character,” Krieps said. WWD sat down with the 34-year-old actress to talk about her new role in the period film, which brings the fifties’ gender dynamics into the mix. Read more on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
@gucci has expanded its “Places” project to include six new cities. The initiative, which was first unveiled in July, aims to invite people to explore inspirational locations for the brand. On the list is the Biblioteca Angelica library in Rome pictured here. See the other five new venues on WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @massimo_listri_official)
#ad From tools to lashes, WWD rounded up wellness and beauty products guaranteed to take your skin care and makeup routines to the next level in 2018. Follow along as @laceandleatherbyelyse, @ashnfashn and @elleisalwayshere experiment with these products on their Instagram profiles and blogs. #NewYearBetterYou
Blogger @camilacoelho is one of the fastest growing beauty influencers around the world. The bilingual blogger has worked with brands like @revolve Beauty, @dior, @louisvuitton and more and has an Earned Media Value of $34,338,441, according to @tribedynamics. But Coelho isn’t the only influencer making a major impact — head to WWD.com to see the other fastest-growing influencers in six key global markets. #beautyfridays (📷: @zefashioninsider)