Hurricane Update: Most Stores Closed Due to Rita Reopen
New York City, Even though Texas and Louisiana residents who fled Hurricane Rita remain displaced, the majority of retailers have restocked their shelves as they await the return of their customers.
Bracing for the wrath of Rita, Wal-Mart closed 155 stores on Saturday morning. By Sunday, all but 52 were open for business. Similarly, Target was able to reopen 28 of its 32 closed stores.
“While there was a disruption, it won’t be cataclysmic,” for merchants, said Scott Krugman, a spokesman at the Washington-based National Retail Federation. “This should have a minimum impact on nationwide sales.”
The Home Depot, the nation’s largest home improvement retailer, also reopened its doors in Texas and Louisiana. Furthermore, company spokesman Don Harrison said that over 100 trucks have been dispatched to bring additional supplies to Home Depot stores, so full shelves will greet their customers.
Sears Holdings to Further Cut Benefits
Hoffman Estates, Ill., In the wake of soaring costs and plummeting shares, Sears Holding Corp. announced that retirees under the age of 65 will be forced to pay for their own health care coverage. Sears said that retiree health care costs consist of 17% of the company’s operating income.
Sears shares are down 29% from an all-time high of $163.50, set in July. Sears representatives say cutting costs is necessary to stay competitive, adding that Sears remains one of the only major U.S. retailers that provides retiree health care coverage: “Our new plan continues to be more generous than most,” spokesman Chris Brathwaite said.
Sears said that because of accounting rules related to its acquisition of Kmart it no longer expects to record gains from post-retirement benefits in future years.
PETsMART Names Hardin to Board
Phoenix, Joseph S. Hardin Jr., the retired president and CEO of Kinko’s, has been named to the PETsMART board of directors, bringing its membership to 12.
Prior to his leadership position at Kinko’s, Hardin served in several executive positions at Wal-Mart over an 11-year career with the retailer.