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.
@pantone announced their Color of the Year 2018: Ultra Violet. Nearly 20 months after the musician Prince’s death, fashion is having a purple moment. Varying shades of purple appeared on spring or fall runways, from @christopherkane to @calvinklein. @gucci’s Alessandro Michele bathed his fall runway in ultra violet-colored light at one point. Pantone 18-3838 is meant to “push the boundaries of what inspires us to look upward and outward to the future.” #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@badgalriri’s @fentybeauty launch in September was a massive success on social media, powering $72.9 million of earned media value, according to Tribe Dynamics. The brand’s foundation offering sparked conversations about diversity in beauty, launching the growth of emerging influencers and propelling the brand’s support on social media. Today, #fentybeauty won Launch of the Year at the WWD #BeautyIncAwards. (📷: Chema Moya/EPE-EFE)
@marianna_hewitt has become one of the most influential content creators in the beauty space, with almost 800,000 Instagram followers and a newly launched skin care line called @SummerFridays. Today, she was awarded Influencer of the Year at the WWD #BeautyIncAwards. (📸: @sophiachabbott )
As shopping behaviors evolve, the retail experience must follow. Head over to retail experts @colliersinternational’s Knowledge Leader series to read more about the shift in our shopping era. #colliersretail #lovecolliers
@prada opened a pop-up club, called Prada Double Club, in collaboration with German artist Cartsen Höller at @artbasel Miami. Last night, guests – including @youngparis, @ritaora and even Miuccia Prada herself – gathered in a former ice factory where the pop-up is housed for a performance from @wyclefjean. Go to WWD.com for full coverage on all the exhibits, parties and more at #ArtBaselMiami. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
@louboutinworld and @disney are making magic once again, creating a set of shoe designs for the release of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Louboutin designed a pair of shoes for each of the film’s four female leads: Rey (@daisyridrey), Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (@lauradern), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and Rose Tico (@kellymarietran). The shoes will debut on Saturday at the L.A. premiere of the latest episode. #wwdfashion
Today at the #BeautyIncAwards 2017, WWD will be joined by beauty leaders from around the world as we honor this year's most innovative people, products, brands and places. Follow along here and on Twitter for live coverage from the exclusive event. #wwdsummits (📷: @elizaflorendo)
Exclusive: Beauty superinfluencer @marianna_hewitt is launching her first-ever skin care brand with her business partner @laurengores. Their new line Summer Fridays, which will be sold exclusively at summerfridays.com starting in January, is launching with just one product – a hydrating cream Jet Lag Mask. “We wanted to focus on one product that was amazing,” said Hewitt. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Michelin star-rated chef PJ Calapa marks his first solo endeavor with today’s opening of @scampinyc –– the new Southern Italian restaurant located in Manhattans’ Flatiron District. The upscale yet welcoming environment matches the menu, which includes two types of scampi: traditional Italian langoustines in butter and the Americanized version with shrimp over pasta 🍤 - pictured here. #wwdeye (📷: George Chinsee)