Retailers’ Big Drift: Scurrying to Recover From White Weekend

Retailers in the Northeast got clobbered by this week’s snowstorm, but have plans to replay promotions to try to recoup sales.

Bloomingdale’s said it won’t alter its promotional calendar. "We’re not going to add a one-day sale or a ‘family and friends’ event," stated Michael Gould, chairman and chief executive officer of Bloomingdale’s, which kept the four stores in the Washington and Philadelphia areas closed Sunday, and a total of 10 stores closed Monday, while all stores were back in business Tuesday. Gould called President’s Day, "a very, very big day and [typically] a colossal day for furniture in the Northeast….Obviously, it was a washout." Bloomingdale’s flagship stayed open through the entire mess. Although it missed plan, business was better than expected under the circumstances.

The Saks Fifth Avenue flagship opened later than usual Monday. "Traffic was not as completely nonexistent as one might think when looking at blizzard conditions," said a spokesman. "A lot of people who came to the store were stuck in midtown."

Getting around Manhattan was still tough on Tuesday, with some buildings roped off due to falling ice, particularly on the Fifth Avenue block housing Ferragamo and Cartier.

Three Saks stores — two in Chevy Chase, Md., and one in Tyson’s Galleria, McLean, Va. — were closed Sunday and Monday, but reopened Tuesday. Saks also closed a suburban Philadelphia store and another in Pittsburgh, Pa., but reopened both Tuesday. The spokesman said Saks had no plans to add promotions to make up for lost business.

By midday Tuesday, most Washington, D.C.-area retailers reopened after two days of being shuttered. Most major arteries were cleared and road crews were starting to attack neighborhood streets covered with one or two feet of snow. Schools in the city and in Virginia and Maryland were closed, as was the region’s largest employer, the federal government.

"With the schools out and government closed, we’re hoping we’ll see some crowds," said Jaimie Friedman, senior marketing director at McClean, Va.-based Tysons Galleria, where Macy’s, Saks and Neiman Marcus are anchors. They all delayed opening until noon because of the huge task of plowing parking lots. Across the street, five-anchor Tysons Corner Center opened on time at 10.
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