CALL TO SPEND LESS HAS LITTLE EFFECT ON SALES

Byline: Carol Emert

WASHINGTON--It appeared to be business as usual for many retailers here Monday, despite the call by organizers of the Million Man March for African-Americans to spend the day in reflection and to avoid spending money.
In Washington, some stores reported brisk business, and significant numbers of blacks were seen in downtown stores such as Hecht & Co., Woodward & Lothrop and Hit or Miss.
Among them was Michelle McLaurin, who carried a Woodward & Lothrop shopping bag. "I figure no one's going to dictate what I'm going to do and what I'm not going to do, not as long as it's my money," she said. Andrea Saunders, who held a Hecht & Co. shopping bag as she walked through downtown around lunchtime, said she went shopping because "I didn't think about it." She said, "I knew when I woke up this morning that I was going shopping for a pair of shoes today."
An Attivo men's clothing store in Union Station, which caters to a largely African-American clientele, saw heavy traffic from people participating in the march and others who didn't, according to Lashan Allen, assistant manager at the store.
However, some stores remained closed, including Warner Bros. on Pennsylvania Avenue, two blocks from the National Mall, where the demonstration was held. "I think [management] thought it was more of a crowd control issue," a spokeswoman said. "If one million people were in front of your store, it would be a problem, right?"
Up Against the Wall, a 15-store, youth-oriented apparel chain based here, decided to close its two downtown locations for the day, including one unit about four blocks from the National Mall, according to a woman reached at the company's headquarters who identified herself as a receptionist.
She said management officials stayed home because they feared it would take too long to get to work due to the traffic caused by the march. Some retailers in other cities said they did not notice a decline in business Monday, although they acknowledged it was impossible to assess whether any shoppers had stayed away because of the boycott.
A Dayton Hudson Corp. spokesman said that a promotion kept traffic high Monday at the company's Marshall Fields, Dayton's and Hudson's stores.
"It's business as usual and the sale seems to be going well," he said.
According to a spokesman for J.C. Penney, a spot check of stores serving a largely African-American clientele in Dallas, Cleveland and Detroit revealed slightly less traffic than expected, but it could not be learned whether it was due to the boycott.
A spokeswoman for Filene's Basement said a long line of shoppers formed outside the downtown Boston store Monday morning in anticipation of a sale.
-- Fairchild News Service

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