Hurricane Harvey that is severely impacting parts of Texas this week is the first Category 4 hurricane to hit the U.S. since Charley in 2004. And the economic impact is likely to be among the Top 10 storms of all time for retail impact.
Planalytics is estimating that the storm will cost the retail industry $1 billion in lost sales. While restaurants will take the biggest hit, as these businesses can not make up for lost traffic, malls and apparel store sales will also plummet as consumer focus on more need-based purchases.
Malls and apparel stores with a large presence in the area hit hardest by the storm include Dillard's, Fred's Stores, Stage Stores, Cato Corp., 99 Cent Only Stores and Hibbett Sports.
The only sectors that will most likely see an eventual increase in traffic from the storm will be home centers and hardware stores, as consumers make purchases needed for repairs and clean-up. Plus, Home Depot, Lowe's and Tractor Supply already had an increase in traffic before the storm as home owners prepped.
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The Houston area is the country's fifth largest population and accounts for about 3% of the gross domestic product. It's also the heart of the nation's refinery and petroleum industries. Therefore, if the nation is hit by higher gas prices, it will likely affect what consumers have left in their pockets to spend on other non-essentials.
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