Northeast Retailers Dig Out After Blizzard

The winter storm that slammed the Northeast last weekend meant lost days and missed opportunities, retailers told Footwear News on Monday.

“We got pretty hammered. We were closed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at all four locations,” Hawley Lane Shoes Owner Dave Levy said. With stores in Shelton, Orange, Stamford and Norwalk, Connecticut, Levy said, his doors saw between 24 and 40 inches of snowfall.

The blizzard dumped feet of snow across the Northeast, with the Boston area and parts of Connecticut seeing more than three feet of accumulation between Friday and Saturday. Traffic was banned from all Connecticut and Massachusetts roads until Saturday at 4p.m., public transportation in both Boston and New York was slowed or stopped, and thousands of flights were canceled.

Boston sneaker shop Bodega was closed both weekend days, according to storeowner Jay Gordon. “We could have tried to open Sunday, but without any public transportation or parking, it would have been rough,” he said.

Gordon said the store is still “digging out” and having trouble receiving deliveries. “Hopefully, we will be back to full strength by this weekend,” he said.

Wilton, Conn.-based independent Chou Chou was closed Friday and Saturday, according to buyer Katie Sanford. However, the store did see increased traffic on Sunday. “I think people get a little cabin fever,” she said.

Still, Sanford said lost sales days at a time when the store typically does a strong resorts business is difficult. “It’s never good to lose two full days of sales, but it’s especially not good to lose two full days of sales right before vacations,” she said.

Hawley Lane had opened its doors on Monday, though traffic was nonexistent, Levy said. The hit to the stores from the closed days and the lack of traffic in the week, he estimated, would be in the six-figure range. And a small uptick in boot sales, he said, wouldn’t come close to compensating. “It’s really devastating in terms of what it’s doing to business,” he said.

At Hartford, Conn.-based Fleet Feet Sports, owner Stephanie Blozy said the storm’s timing could put a dent in sales of discounted winter running apparel.

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