This past weekend, the U.S. East Coast braced itself for Hurricane Irene, a massive tropical storm that so far has caused an estimated $13 billion in damage, over 20 deaths and left millions without running water or electricity.
During times like these, Russ Householder, Home Depot's company's emergency-response captain, likens the company's Command Center to that of NASA's Mission Control during a shuttle launch.
Consumer reports are hoping that Labor Day sales will help close the gap of profit loss. But with that particular weekend being very promotion/sales heavy, those numbers may have a somewhat negative affect on the bottomline for some companies, especially those that are primarily found on the Northeast coast.
But not all retailers suffered. "Hardline retailers" such as Home Depot, Lowe's and even Walmart are expected to report a considerable spike in sales since many consumers stocked up on batteries, sand bags, tarps, plywood and other miscellaneous hardware supplies and essentials to protect themselves and their homes from the storm. Leading up to Irene's arrival, many locations extended their hours or converted to staying open 24-hours to meet the supply-and-demand needs of some areas.
"We've got all the key news agencies on the big screens up front," he says. "We're also monitoring our store sales so we can better be in tune to what's happening in our stores, and we're also connected live one-on-one with district managers in the impacted areas."
Householder says supplies are flowing to stores because of a process that began months ago, at the beginning of hurricane season. "We take storm product, both pre- and post-strike product, we stage those in containers and we have them in our distribution centers, really ready for a driver to pull up and pick up and take them to our stores," he says.
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