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Hurricane Joaquin’s Double-Edged Sword

Women’s Wear Daily

By: Sharon Edelson

Retailers in several Southern states are still recovering from the impact of Hurricane Joaquin, which dumped several feet of rain in the Carolinas and elsewhere over the weekend.

“On the heels of one of the warmest Septembers, you had significant cooldown with rain but not traffic-stopping rain,” Evan Gold, senior vice president of client services at Planalytics, which analyzes the impact of weather on businesses, said of the weather in the Northeast. “It should have been really good for business. It was actually an opportunity to sell fall product. It was a little bit of an anomaly in that a storm is usually a big net negative for softlines, but this was more of a positive.”

Gold stressed that he wasn’t minimizing the devastating flooding in the Carolinas, where several deaths attributed to the storm were reported. “Charleston and Columbia, S.C., had a huge disruption,” Gold said. “Some places got two feet of rain. Major markets got a foot or a foot and a half of rain. It was a huge disruption, no doubt.”

The hurricane’s economic impact was initially believed to be in the billions of dollars, including property damage, disruption in manufacturing and lost sales, with the National Hurricane center predicting that Joaquin would hit New York City.

“In the grand scheme, it had a positive impact because it drove consumers to stores in the Northeast,” Gold said.

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