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Here comes Hurricane Florence

Ready or not, heavy home damage is expected on the mid-Atlantic.

BY HBSDealer Staff

By Friday morning, or late Thursday night, Hurricane Florence was expected to smash into the Carolina coast. It’s the most heavily-publicized storm of the season, and retailers mobilized in the days and weeks in advance of the landfall.

As millions flee the coast for higher ground, the weather watchers at Planalytics are estimating $700 million in lost sales for the consumer/retail sector. “Batteries, flashlights, building materials, and bottled water are among the top items finding their way into consumers’ baskets along the Southeast coast,” the company wrote in a press release. It listed “Home centers” to be among the retail winners of Hurricane Florence, along with gas stations and convenience stores.

Extended power outages, flooding, and wind damage are expected to drive demand for clean-up items such as pumps, saws, and lumber.

Even far inland, the storm is having an impact on hardware stores and their customers. In Charlotte, 200 miles from coastal Wilmington and home of the venerable Blackhawk Ace Hardware, the store’s Facebook page explained that a large shipment of generators was sold out in a day. The site referred customers to ReadyNC.org for hurricane preparedness advice.

Both Home Depot and Lowe’s describe their hurricane management efforts as “around the clock.”  Lowe’s says it has shipped more than 1,000 truckloads of critical supplies to areas that will be impacted by Hurricane Florence. The company updates its store hours and closing in Carolina here.

At Home Depot’s Hurricane Headquarters, the company says its stores will remain open as long as its safe to keep them opening. Like Lowe’s, stores in Wilmington and Charleston are among those already closed.

In Atlanta, the company’s Disaster Response Command Center is also monitoring Hurricane Olivia that could threaten Hawaii.

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