Who is Benefitting from Hurricane Irene?

While home-improvement stores benefited from people buying emergency supplies and will continue to benefit as people make repairs, many department stores that were shut down because of flooding will have lost sales. Depending on the business, the utility of its products and services both during the storm and after, some companies will be cashing in while others will be looking at depleted sales. Here are just a few of the biggest winners and losers of Hurricane Irene:


  • Home-improvement stores. With people buying emergency supplies like wooden boards, sandbags, and flashlights, stores like Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW) and Home Depot (NYSE:HD) improved sales drastically in anticipation of the storm. And as many look to repair damage to their homes and property, those same stores could see sales of paint, windows, and hardware increase over the coming weeks.
  • Grocery stores. As people stocked up on bottled water, canned goods, and all the other storm essentials, many grocers along the coast were looking at empty shelves by Friday.
  • Coffee joints. A Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) cafe in Groton, Connecticut, had lines running out its doors today, with about twice its usual sales today. The shop’s manager, Jeremiah Vigue, said “They’re getting stir-crazy and are just wanting to get something hot.” Many Groton residents were without power from August 27 through midday Sunday. With free Wi-Fi, Starbucks stores along the coast have become popular hang outs and meeting places for people hit by power outages. A Dunkin’ Donuts (NASDAQ:DNKN) in Pawcatuck, Connecticut, which was open all weekend, is seeing about 10% to 20% more business than usual. Both Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks reported very few closures along the coast.
  • Delivery services. We’re talking pizza, Chinese food — anything that gets you hot food fast without having to leave the house. Papa John’s (NASDAQ:PZZA) is reporting an increase in both sales and deliveries this weekend, despite roughly 200 of its East Coast stores being closed at the peak of the storm.


  • Department stores. With Irene serving as both a distraction and an impediment to shopping, department shores along the East Coast had significantly fewer shoppers, and many closed down in anticipation of the storm. Flooding in some could delay their re-opening and hurt back-to-school sales. The storm may have reduced Apparel retailers’ comparable-store sales by as much as 0.5%, according to early reports. Saks (NYSE:SKS) closed 7 stores across 5 states. Three Macy’s (NYSE:M) stores are still closed today due to flooding.
  • Movie theaters. Many theaters along the coast were closed in advance of the storm, with Clearview Cinemas shutting down all of its 57 theaters along the Philadelphia-New York corridor on both Saturday and Sunday. Hundreds more theaters closed from North Carolina to Boston, costing the industry roughly $25 billion in a single weekend.
  • Broadway. The New York City theater district witnessed a 36% decline in gross sales this weekend, as many shows, both on and off Broadway were canceled.
  • City of New York. Mayor Bloomberg shut down the city’s subway system well ahead of the storm, costing the city thousands if not millions in lost fares. In fact, the same could be said for many major city centers affected by the storm, including D.C., Philadelphia, and Boston.
  • Casinos. With Atlantic City right in the path of the storm, casinos and entertainment venues in the city stood to lose big money. Caesars Entertainment Corp. (CZR), the world’s biggest casino company and owner for four resorts in Atlantic city, lost about $6 million to $8 million in cash flow from $25 million in revenue it would have expected .