DALLAS — A heavy sleet storm Monday night layered one to three inches of ice over roads in North Texas, closing schools and many offices Tuesday and putting a big chill on retail sales. Local merchants were concerned that the possibility of more freezing precipitation would crimp business today as well.
This story first appeared in the February 26, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“Traffic is light,” said Melody Kamp, marketing director at NorthPark Center mall. “All of our major department stores are open and 80 to 85 percent of specialty stores, but since the schools are closed, a lot of children are outside playing in the winter wonderland, so it will be a slower day.”
Kamp was hopeful that the forecast for warmer weather this weekend would lure substantial numbers of shoppers with cabin fever.
Neiman Marcus’ downtown flagship was open Tuesday with about half its usual employees.
“I’ve got a reduced staff, but the associates here are on the phones and I think we’ll have a decent day,” said Shelle Bagot, vice president and general manager. “We do a great deal of business on the phone anyway. Is there traffic in the store? No.”
At the Galleria mall, the four anchors and only 31 of more than 200 specialty stores were open, according to the security office.
“I believe there are some shoppers, but not many,” said a security guard who declined to be identified.
Many specialty stores remained shuttered, including Tootsies, Lilly Dodson, Del-Ann’s and Byzantine.
Phyllis Walker, owner of Del-Ann’s in Dallas and Fort Worth, made it to her Dallas store in Snyder Plaza to work on the computer and paperwork, but she was not open for business.
“I live very close, and I can get here, but my staff is farther and it’s treacherous to ask them to come in,” Walker said. “Not a business is open here [in Snyder Plaza] unless it’s a restaurant. I’ve been in here an hour-and-a-half, and I haven’t seen a soul except the mailman and the UPS man.”
“I can’t even get out of my driveway — it’s a sheet of ice —and I didn’t want the girls to risk their lives or health if they were to have an accident,” said Victoria Jackson, owner of Byzantine. “Truthfully, I don’t think anybody would come out today anyway.”
The Chanel store at Highland Park Village was open but manager Tom Faust said that the center was “pretty quiet.”
“We opened at 10 and we’ve had a few people in this morning, but it’s been quiet,” Faust said. “Traffic seems to be growing a bit as the day progresses, and I think the afternoon might get a little busier. Obviously, this weather is not great for us, and if there is more sleet tonight, then tomorrow will be more of the same.”