NEW YORK — Retailers here have set plans on how to mark the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 tragedies, and in many cases the approach is low-key and the philosophy is that business must carry on.
However, no one expects much store traffic that day. Anxieties will be running high with memories stirred up and fears over another terrorist attack, while many consumers will be attending memorial services or staying home to watch them on TV. Many stores will open late out of respect for the victims of 9/11 and to accommodate associates wishing to attend morning memorials.
Throughout the city, store windows will be devoid of merchandise and filled with flags and commemorative messages, and newspaper ads will be themed likewise.
Big stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale’s, will open an hour or two late on Sept. 11. But Giorgio Armani Corp. said Wednesday that all of its directly owned retail stores in the U.S., a total of 28 under the Giorgio Armani, Armani Collezioni, Emporio Armani, Armani Casa, and the Giorgio Armani General banners, will be closed for the entire day. Armani’s corporate office here will open at 1 p.m.
On the other hand, at many stores along Madison Avenue, it will be business as usual. Among designers, Polo Ralph Lauren’s corporate offices will have two moments of silence at 8:46 a.m. and 10:29 a.m., marking when the first jet crashed into the World Trade Center, and the Center’s second tower collapsed, respectively. Lauren employees will be excused from work if they want to attend civic or religious services.
Saks Fifth Avenue stores in the tri-state area will open at noon, instead of at the normal hour of 10 a.m., including the Fifth Avenue flagship, the Bergen, Greenwich, Short Hills, Southampton, Stamford, Huntington, Pittsburgh, Tysons and Chevy Chase units, 10 outlets and the corporate office. Saks is running memorial ads in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, with an image of the American flag and the words, “With Remembrance.” The same message will be in Saks’ windows, although the flagship’s 50th Street windows will display fiberglass German shepherds representing Project DOGNY. The figures were designed by Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, the American Kennel Club and Police Athletic League, and Sotheby’s will auction them off to raise money for the AKC to distribute to search-and-rescue teams. In the stores, associates will wear white ribbons.
“You can mourn and still be resilient. That’s the important message, and what New York City is all about,” said Michael Macko, Saks’ director of publicity, who is also on the families advisory council of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which is in charge of redeveloping lower Manhattan.
Federated Department Stores will launch “The Gift from Your Heart” campaign, in which all Federated stores from Sept. 6-15 will help the American Blood Center meet demands for blood. Shoppers will be asked to fill out pledge cards to be sent to local blood centers, which will then contact the person when they need blood. It’s also possible to pledge blood on the company’s Web sites, including http://www.macys.com and http://www.fds.com/agiftfromyourheart.
Federated’s Macy’s division will run full-page ads to commemorate the friends and families of the victims and heros of Sept. 11, and will install windows with the same message. Four of Macy’s Herald Square Broadway windows will be designed with American flags, and two windows will depict a sky with clouds and the words, “We take this moment to remember. Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of the victims and heros of September 11, 2001.”
Here are some of the other activities being undertaken by major retailers to commemorate Sept. 11:
Macy’s workers will wear red, white and blue ribbons and will also have a moment of silence at 8:46 am and 10:29. The Herald Square, Boston and Pentagon City stores will sell “Band of Honor” bracelets, for $7, and donate all the proceeds to Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, which provides education assistance for children and spouses of victims of Sept. 11.
Bloomingdale’s 25 stores, including the New York flagship, will showcase hand-painted murals by children from educational organizations and summer camps in its flagship windows and inside branch stores from Sept. 6-15, and stores will be open an hour later on Sept. 11 for memorial services in New York and at branch locations. Bloomingdale’s is also planning memorial ads.
Lord & Taylor’s ads in The New York Times and The Washington Post will read: “We are here by grace. We are meant to love. We will walk with hope. We will live for peace.” Windows in the Fifth Avenue flagship will reflect the same sentiment, and stores without windows will have signs to that effect. All L&T stores and the central office here will open at noon, EST. Chief executive Jane Elfers will address the store associates here, general managers of branches will do the same, and a moment of silence will be observed.
Barneys New York will open at 11 a.m. Beforehand, two firemen will address the associates, and one worker will sing God Bless America. Also, associates will distribute red, white and blue ribbons, and children’s art interpreting 9/11 will be in the windows.
Bergdorf Goodman will open at noon, and create special windows.
Henri Bendel has several activities surrounding 9/11 under the theme “We Love New York” to raise money for the Twin Towers Fund, including a photo exhibit of New York City icons by Michael MacGill, Sept. 3-14, and a shopping night, Sept. 4, hosted by Judith Nathan, board member, Twin Towers Fund, with food, designer appearances and complementary beauty and treatment services. On Sept. 11, Bendel’s will have choral music at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.