As Hurricane Irma continues to loom over Florida, the financial impact on the state’s economy has yet to be determined. However, the area could see some early signs of recovery when it comes to the retail landscape.
According to Sam Poser, a retail analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group LLLP, since many area residents will have to replace lost or damaged personal belongings, including shoes, stores could see an uptick in business. Poser noted, it took only days for Shoe Carnival stores in Houston to re-open, ready to service area residents.
Footwear deliveries, however, could be delayed. According to David Ben-Zikry, co-owner of Spring Footwear, a shoe wholesaler in Pompano Beach, Fla. “We may face some delays in shipping as steam ship lines and ports have routed some vessels away from Florida ports,” he said.
There were some Florida retailers that were open for business. At Shoe Station, a Mobile, Ala.,-based shoe chain with locations throughout the South, its Pensacola, Fla., store opened its doors at noon today. “There was a line outside,” said sales associate Len Eichman, noting there was not a mandatory evacuation of the city. However, she added, should the storm head to the region, the store is prepared to close.
Property damage is another retail concern. According to James Bernstein, president of Miami-based The Green Companies, a real estate firm that owns office and retail properties, it is up to individual stores to insure the contents of their stores. In addition, retailers are typically responsible for putting shutters on their windows. When it comes to common areas, he said, landlords cover those as well as monitoring drainage on the roof and fire systems. Newer buildings, said Bernstein, constructed post-Hurricane Andrew, have been built with more stringent building codes dictated by The American Society of Civil Engineers.