Retailers across Florida and beyond are preparing for the impact of Hurricane Ian, which is already hitting parts of the western coast of Florida and nearing Category 5 status.
As one of the most powerful storms to hit the U.S. in years, the impact could stretch inland to other parts of Florida as well. Across Florida, some retailers have announced temporary store closures to maintain the safety of employees and guests.
Walmart has closed more than 200 Sam’s Club and Walmart stores, according to map it is updating on its website to keep costumers up to date, though some of these closures in other states could be unrelated to the storm.
“The safety of our associates, customers and members is always our top priority,” Walmart said on its website. “Walmart’s Emergency Operations Center is monitoring Hurricane Ian in real-time, assessing the status of our facilities in the path of the storm. We will continue operating as long as it is safe to do so.”
Amazon said in a statement on Monday that it has activated its “Disaster Relief Hub” in Atlanta to ready supplies across Florida to prepare relief missions for communities impacted by the storm. Amazon said it has loaded and deployed 10 trucks with more than 360,000 bottles of water across Florida and other southern states and has reserved a parking lot in its Jacksonville, Florida facility for Red Cross trailers to help transfer relief items if needed.
“We know that when natural disasters strike, communities quickly need help — and we are mobilizing our teams and using our technology and infrastructure to be able to assist those in need as soon as possible,” said Abe Diaz, head of Amazon Disaster Relief in a statement. “Hurricane Ian is likely to be a powerful hurricane by the time it makes landfall, and we are using our logistics expertise and artificial intelligence technology to preposition the most needed products at the most effective locations.”
At Target, a company spokesperson confirmed to FN that the retailer has closed or will close approximately 70 stores in the storm’s path.
“Nothing matters more than the safety of our team members and guests, and we’re closely monitoring the impact of Hurricane Ian,” Target said in a statement on Wednesday. “We’ve temporarily closed or adjusted hours at all locations in the storm’s immediate path. We will also work with our team members, guests and regional partners in the coming days to help ensure that all communities impacted by Hurricane Ian have the resources they need to support recovery and rebuilding.”
Publix, a major grocery chain in Florida, also has a live map tracking store closings and hour changes. As of Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of stores were closed or operating with modified hours.