Hurricane Irma’s estimated impact on retail could reach $2.8 billion

Several financial forecasters are predicting Hurricane Irma’s impact could result in a nearly $2.8 billion loss for retail.

The speculation from earlier this week could be downgraded as Florida continues to assess damages from the storm, which in some areas weren’t as bad as forecasters feared. Irma has devolved from a Category 5 to a tropical depression as it makes its way up through Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama, where flash flood warnings are still in effect.

hurricane irma's estimated impact on retail
NOAA’s satellite captured Tropical Storm Irma at approximately 9 a.m. on September 11, 2017. Late Monday, the storm was downgraded to a tropical depression.

Related: The New York Times has a look at Irma’s path from 22,000 miles above Earth, courtesy of NOAA satellites

"Spending in discretionary categories such as apparel and accessories could be unlikely to substantially rebound and store closures will yield lost sales" said Cowen retail analyst Oliver Chen, adding that as the storm subsides supply chains will be disrupted and could impact seasonal retail sales, according to the WWD report.

Major national retailers Target, Walmart and Macy’s all opted to close regional stores in the affected areas over the weekend. Retail analyst Simon Siegel of Instinet said the combined devastation from Hurricane Harvey several weeks ago and now Irma "[represents] a very large percentage of U.S. retail” that is impacted, according to WWD.

Marshal Cohen, chief economist at The NPD Group, told WWD: "Retail was already hard-pressed and challenged. We didn't see any growth this year. [Irma] could impact 3 percent to 5 percent of all apparel sales.”

Read the full WWD article, courtesy of Planalytics.com

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