Retailers Assess Tornado Damage in the Midwest

The tornadoes that tore through the region on Sunday hit retailers in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri just as the holiday season was beginning.

The tornadoes that tore through the Midwest Sunday hit retailers in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri just as the holiday season was beginning.

This story first appeared in the November 19, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

About 50 Wal-Mart stores and Sam’s Club units in the affected states were forced to close on Sunday due to power outages. Four stores and one Sam’s Club remained shuttered as of Monday morning.

A handful of Target units in Illinois and Indiana were affected. “Some lost power at various times and some had some minor damage,” a Target spokeswoman said, adding that all of the stores reopened by Monday afternoon. Kokomo Town Center in Kokomo, Ind., which is anchored by J.C. Penney, is located in one of the areas hardest hit by tornadoes. The mall, which remained closed on Monday, suffered extensive damage.

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“Fortunately, we did not have any properties that completely lost power,” said a spokesman for Simon Properties. “There were some tenants at the Markland Mall in Kokomo that lost power in their stores but that was it.”

Markland Plaza, a strip mall in Kokomo, was forced to close on Sunday due to a lack of power. A spokeswoman for Markland said the center was told by the utility company that power may not be restored until Wednesday.

“Our thoughts go out to those impacted by the storms and tornadoes that hit the Peoria region on Sunday,” said Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications at Sears. “A few of our Sears and Kmart stores in the region were without power and/or suffered minor exterior damage due to the extreme wind during the storms. All of our stores in the area are currently open to serve our members and customers.”

The storms left at least eight dead and dozens injured. One of the dead was a Wal-Mart associate, who died at her home.

Macy’s Inc. said there was no damage to any of its stores. “We do not have any stores in the immediate vicinity of where there was destruction,” said Jim Sluzewski, senior vice president of corporate communications and external affairs.

The Wal-Mart spokeswoman said “air mattresses, cleaning supplies and ready-to-eat foods and canned goods” were selling briskly at stores that were open.

Target said there was a great need for batteries, flashlights and cleaning supplies, and stores were working “diligently to replenish stock quickly so we can be a recovery resource for the community. A few of our team members were personally affected and we’re working to provide resources for them and make sure they all have safe places to stay.”