Retailers are bracing themselves for the impact of Hurricane Florence, which could cost them up to $700 million in lost sales, according to Planalytics, a weather analytics company. Not all stores will be affected equally: apparel retailers, shopping malls, local businesses and restaurants are expected to take a hit, while home improvement stores actually may benefit.
Batteries, flashlights, building materials and bottled water are among the top items shoppers will be looking for as they prepare for Hurricane Florence. The aftermath will see increased demand for pumps, saws and lumber for clean-up efforts.
Retailers should consider using dynamic pricing during crises, to ensure prices stay the same or get lowered as needed on essentials, according to Paul Milner, Marketing Director at Displaydata. Running appropriate promotions during and after the storm can help strengthen retailers’ relationships with local communities.
“An organization’s pricing strategy and how their prices affect customers during their time of need, are essential components to the company’s brand,” said Milner said in commentary provided to Retail TouchPoints. “The last thing retailers need is their loyal customers to view them as taking advantage of tragedy through methods like price gouging. That is where a solid store infrastructure, with effective retail technology tools on hand, can help.”
Home Depot is well-positioned to benefit from the storm. Hurricanes were among the factors that boosted Home Depot’s same-store sales by 7.9% in Q3 2017. Hurricane Florence could result in a 0.6 percentage point sales boost for both Home Depot and Lowe’s in the second half of 2018, according to The Seattle Times.