In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I wasn’t in a shopping mood. I was cleaning up storm damage and dealing with power outages and other problems. (For many people, the power outages and related problems continue a full month later.) The national election and a follow-up storm a week later added to the slow-down feeling when it came to the idea of shopping. And I haven’t returned to the stores quickly. Checking my accounts this morning, I found that I have spent hardly anything, aside from repairs, in the month since the storm hit.
In the aftermath of the storm, it was easy to see that people were not spending at their usual pace, and reports from retailers are confirming this. The Reuters story (at CNBC) “Same-Store Sales Hit by Weak November Start” lists Target, Macy’s, and Nordstrom among retailers reporting only the slightest year-over-year growth in November same-store sales, only half of what analysts had predicted — and that in spite of a healthy total for Thanksgiving weekend.
Most people affected by the storm a month ago have surely returned to their regular shopping habits by now, but a smaller number facing more serious effects, having to rebuild houses, seeking new jobs, navigating transportation difficulties, or waiting for local stores to reopen, may not return to a semblance of normal shopping until spring or summer.