STORES SLOW ON THE DAY AFTER THE BIG BLIZZARD
NEW YORK — Retailers snowed under Monday reopened Tuesday, but with traveling still difficult and snow revisiting certain areas, there was only a flurry of business to be had.
“It’s not a terrific day,” said Mary Woods, marketing director for the Galleria in White Plains, N.Y. We get a lot of bus traffic, and the buses in Westchester County are not running. We count on that traffic.”
Business at the Garden State Plaza in New Jersey was “a little bit light, but nothing out of the ordinary,” said Lucille De Hart, marketing director. “We’re hoping to make up the business this weekend,” when big sales events will be run in conjunction with Martin Luther King Day, she added.
But a second snowstorm could hit this weekend, according to reports.
Many Washington-area retailers closed early Tuesday due to more snow, beginning about 11 a.m. After getting knocked out Sunday and Monday, Potomac Mills Mall in Dale City, Va. opened Tuesday at noon, but closed again at 2 p.m. Few customers were there, but the mall was hopeful about reopening Wednesday. A spokeswoman said most lost sales would be made up, “but it certainly will have an impact on January sales.”
Tracy Mullin, president of the National Retail Federation, said this week’s storm in the end will cost the East Coast retail industry billions of dollars. Each day that a large department store stays shut, it could lose as much as $100,000, she said.
Tysons Corner Center, Maclean, Va., which closed at 1 p.m. Tuesday, anticipates losing $2 million to $3 million each day the mall is closed, according to E. Kemal Blue, general manager. Bloomingdale’s was the only Tysons anchor planning to remain open all day, Blue said. Fewer than 50 percent of the mall’s specialty stores opened Tuesday. “We’ll try to reopen tomorrow,” Blue said. “It might be a short day again, like 11 to 7 or 10 to 6.”
The Fashion Centre in Pentagon City, Va., is right on a subway stop. It was teeming with customers Tuesday, but stores were closing as the snowy day progressed. Linda Meyer, marketing and tourism coordinator, said Pentagon City generates strong sales during inclement weather. “I think people are sort of itchy,” she said.
Saks Jandel, in Chevy Chase, Md., was “not anticipating a lot of business,” said Peter Marx, vice president, on Tuesday. On Monday, the record snowstorm virtually crippled the East Coast retail industry, but a few major stores — Macy’s Herald Square and Bloomingdale’s 59th Street among them — managed to stay open just an hour or two short of a regular day and performed better than expected. They capitalized on tourists, intrepid shoppers and those that may have headed to other stores first, but found them closed due to the whiteout.
“We made plan and beat last year’s number with two hours less,” said Michael Gould, Bloomingdale’s chairman and chief executive officer. “The amount of tourists was incredible,” said Gould, who was on the floors surveying the scene Monday. Men’s and women’s shoes, dress furnishings and shirts, neckwear and underwear were standouts. “Bloomingdale’s is different from other stores in town. It’s a neighborhood store and also has an international draw.”
Except for the flagship, all Bloomingdale’s stores in the Northeast were closed Monday. On Tuesday, all stores were open. Most Federated stores in the east were closed Monday. Macy’s East took inventory Tuesday, keeping its stores closed on what was likely to be a slow day anyway considering travel conditions. On Monday, most of the Macy’s chain was snowed out.
Macy’s Herald Square managed to open on Monday and “exceeded our expectations,” said a spokesman. “It has a lot to do with the fact that Manhattan is a foot traffic city.”
Barneys New York’s three Manhattan stores were back in business on Tuesday, as were all 28 Gap units.
The Fashion Center’s buildings were open for business Tuesday, as the district began the major task of cleaning up from the blizzard.