Reports state that Hurricane Irene could have done anywhere from $3 billion to $10 billion in damage during her brief trip up the East Coast. That’s a lot of plywood, nails, plaster and everything else that will be needed for repair. It’s also a lot of coffee for beleaguered consumers.
Even before the storm hit, hardware stores were stocking up with the things we were stocking up on. A rep for Lowe’s tells Bloomberg that East Coast stores received an additional 1,000 extra truckloads of Hurricane survival staples like flashlights, batteries and generators. The store has issued a directive to outlets in affected areas to not raise prices on emergency goods.
A rep for Home Depot says the chain is already seeing a rush on hurricane cleanup supplies like chainsaws and vacuum cleaners. “We’ve begun moving into recovery and clean-up products,” he said.
Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are seeing spikes in business as residents in rain- and flood-soaked regions try to get back to normal life. “They’re getting stir-crazy and are just wanting to get something hot,” a Starbucks manager a Connecticut store tells Bloomberg about the line of people out the door. Some without electricity or access to the internet may be going to Starbucks to take advantage of the free WiFi.
Meanwhile, though this past weekend should have been a boon to department stores and clothing retailers with last-minute back-to-school shoppers doing their last-minute back-to-school shopping, most of these businesses on the East Coast closed their doors over the last few days while the storm surged through.