Winter Storm Jonas shuts down retail business in the eastern US
This past weekend, Winter Storm Jonas affected many cities in the eastern United States, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington DC. As many as 11 states declared the storm a state of emergency. During the massive blizzard, retailers lost up to $850 million in potential sales and wages.
Many retailers operated on regular store hours on Saturday. In New York City and Washington DC, stores had no choice but to close after city officials urged residents to remain indoors during the storm. By 2:30pm in New York City, drivers were restricted from the road and by 4:00pm above ground public transportation was shut down. The American media reported that a number of retailers including Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf Goodman closed as early as Friday, and Simon Property Group closed a number of malls early on Friday as well.
Customers were not phased by the inclement weather, especially at Kith where a number of people lined up at the Manhattan location for a chance to buy the Ronnie Fieg x Adidas Tubular Doom sneaker that was set to launch in stores that morning. Many took to social media to criticize Fieg’s decision to release the sneaker despite the blizzard, according to Hypebeast.
Fieg responded on Instagram saying, “The reason we didn’t reschedule is because there were people who traveled from different states and people who were staying in the city ready for the drop. It wouldn’t be fair to them to change it up. Nobody forced anyone to come to the shop. I don’t like having people waiting in the cold to buy shoes, I don’t get off on that… Just remember I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I already know the right and wrong things to do.”
According to the American press, Planalytics, a business consultancy specialized in weather-related profits and losses, expected an economic loss from the storm to range from $585 million to $850 million. In New York City alone, losses were expected to reach $70 million and the Baltimore/DC area was expected to have a $275 million loss. Both areas received over two feet of snow on Saturday and high winds that reached 50 mph in New York City.
Scott A. Bernhardt, president of Planalytics, said, "Some retailers might have seen a bump just ahead of the storm, but this will be more than offset by the fact that two weekend days of business were washed out or significantly slowed due to the storm." Reporters suggest that the cold weather blast could mean an increase in outerwear purchases and accessories.
By Sunday, business resumed as per usual but with adjusted hours. Project tradeshow, though not a retailer, adjusted its hours due to Winter Storm Jonas, but it did not cancel its first day. The exhibitor move-in day was planned for January 23 but was moved to the morning of January 24.
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