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Retail Roundup: Complaints snagged 12 stores not charging for single-use bags

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services imposes a penalty of up to $500 if a bag violation is cited upon re-inspection.

In the year since enactment of its retail

In the year since enactment of its retail bag law, Suffolk County has found a dozen establishments in initial violation.  Photo Credit: Newsday File/Randee Daddona

Retailers say Suffolk County’s bag-fee law is working as intended, but how many are violating the law by not charging customers for bags?

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services said it has received 24 complaints about noncompliant stores since Jan. 1, 2018, when a law began requiring supermarkets, pharmacies, clothing stores and other types of retailers to charge customers 5 cents for each single-use plastic and paper bag they use to carry out their purchases.

“Twelve covered stores were found to be in violation of the law. Zero stores were in violation upon reinspection,” the department said.

The department imposes a penalty of up to $500 if a violation is cited upon re-inspection. No stores have been fined, it said.

The 24 complaints about noncompliant stores came from consumers, but the department does have inspectors out doing spot checks, the agency said.

The number of cited complaints is small considering that, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Suffolk County has 5,500 retail trade establishments, excluding furniture stores, car dealerships and non-store retailers.  

The county's bag-fee law, which raised the ire of some shoppers when it went into effect, is intended to increase the utilization of reusable bags and reduce the number of single-use plastic bags polluting waterways.    Suffolk County does not receive any portion of the bag fees collected by stores.

The county’s law requires the health department to prepare an annual recycling report by March 1 on the legislation’s progress, including information on any cost savings for the county from reductions in contaminated waterways and on the benefits of waste and litter reduction.

I reported on Dec. 20 that the Food Industry Alliance of New York State said its survey of Suffolk County grocery stores that are members of the trade group showed an 80 percent decline in the distribution of single-use bags in the first and second quarters of 2018.

Twenty cities, towns and villages in New York State have enacted single-use bag fees or bans, including Long Beach and the Village of Sea Cliff in Nassau County, according to the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, an advocacy group based in Farmingdale. New York City’s fee was blocked by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2017.

New Tanger tenants

Shoes, shirts and shades.  Oh, my.

Two new tenants, Cole Haan Outlet and Looks & Co. Designer Glasses, opened at Tanger Outlets Deer Park in November.  Also, one of the premium-brand shopping center’s existing shops, a Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, relocated to a space that is about 40 percent bigger in October.

“We are excited to welcome all of the new additions,” said Nancy W. Larson, general manager for the shopping center.

Looks & Co., which sells designer prescription sunglasses and eyeglasses, opened Nov. 3 in a 2,007-square-foot space, suite 1450, that was once occupied by Kay Jewelers.

The eyewear shop offers high-end brands such as Tom Ford, Versace, Gucci and Prada, said owner Rafael Hanukashvili.

A Dix Hills resident, Hanukashvili, 42, opened his first Looks & Co. store in Syosset in September 2016, he said.

“Customer service is the most important to me. … We make sure we can take care of everything for our customers,” he said.

Cole Haan Outlet sells shoes, outerwear and accessories.  

On Nov. 14 the store opened in a 2,400-square-foot spot in Tanger suite 1599, which was previously occupied by an Easy Spirit shoe store.

“New York is a strong market for Cole Haan, and this is an addition to the fleet,” the Greenland, New Hampshire-based retailer said.

The Deer Park Polo Ralph Lauren  store,  an outlet tenant since 2014, relocated to suite 301, a space of 10,283 square feet near the Neiman Marcus Last Call store, and opened there on Oct. 26.

“It was relocated just to have a more prominent space and a bigger footprint,” Manhattan-based Ralph Lauren Corp. said.

Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Stores sell clothing and accessories for adults and children.
Opened in 2008, Tanger Outlets Deer Park has 739,109 square feet of leasable space and was 97 percent occupied as of Sept. 30, according to a regulatory filing by Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc.  

Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at tory.parrish@newsday.com.

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