TODAY'S PAPER
Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon
Long Island

LI's snow 'changes pace' of postholiday sales

Plowed snow from the blizzard blows in the

Plowed snow from the blizzard blows in the wind at an empty Tanger Mall in Riverhead. (Dec. 27, 2010) Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Some Long Islanders dug out of the snow and were back shopping at the malls and shops Monday afternoon, but most merchants will need the next few weeks to make up for the lost post-Christmas sales they had expected Sunday.

"It's going to take two weeks to make up for what was lost," said Marshal Cohen, an analyst for The NPD Group, a Port Washington market research firm. "You just don't have the frenzy of the post-holiday sales. The whole pace and psyche of the shop has changed."

The storm Sunday and Monday morning forced some shops and malls to close early and delayed openings. The Tanger Outlets at the Arches in Deer Park and Tanger Outlet Center in Riverhead, both outdoor venues, were closed Monday.

This is the week retailers will try to move remaining holiday and winter merchandise off their shelves, and Sunday in particular was expected to be a big day, with most consumers off from work. Now many retailers have to become creative to make up for the lost day, retail analysts said.

"I think what retailers are going to have to do is extend the sales period, maybe even mark down goods further and promote online," said Barry Berman, a marketing and international business professor at Hofstra University. "It could have been a lot worse if this had happened a week ago."

Monday morning, many malls were quiet, a rare shopping experience that Doug Spadaro, 60, of Manhasset, enjoyed. He went with his son to Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington Station and was able to quickly exchange boots and buy accessories for an iPod Touch. "My wife said it would normally be absolutely packed," he said. "I prefer this."

 

Scene at local malls

But by noon the mall's forced hibernation was nearing an end as shoppers returned and the usual line at the Starbucks began to grow. The anchor stores were the busiest, and the Apple store was mobbed by the afternoon, Cohen said. Stores continued their sales with many offering 50 percent off on certain items and Macy's providing an additional 15 percent discount, Cohen said.

Westfield Sunrise Mall in Massapequa also started bustling. "It has been getting more and more busy as the day progresses and as people figure out that we have stores open that other malls don't," said marketing director Maria Di Leo.

Some of Long Island's downtown districts, however, lagged. In Huntington, many boutiques with regular Monday hours remained dark. Main Street offered several hurdles to shoppers, namely a wall of cleared snow along the curb that ate up most street parking, and piles on the corner that turned pedestrians into mountain climbers.

 

Minimal impact at some shops

Chris Mitchell, who manages Marshs in Huntington, said he shoveled a 4-foot snowdrift from the sidewalk in front of his door after opening Monday. Business was slow at the upscale clothing retailer, but because the storm came after Christmas - and not the week before - the impact will be minimal, he said. "People who would have come in yesterday or today - guess what?" said Mitchell. "They'll come later in the week."

Still, there were some bright spots among the smaller shops. Matador Cigars in Roslyn Heights was filled with men lounging in chairs, smoking, chatting and typing on computers, said owner Boris Grossman. "The phone has been off the hook to see if we're open. My customers are crazy. They're stir crazy."

And at the popular Book Revue, staff said Monday's sales would probably only differ slightly from a normal post-Christmas day. "I think it helped us that with a snowy day, people want to have books to read," said store employee Julianne Wernersbach. With Ellen Yan

Latest Long Island News