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Sandy knocks off big chunk of retail sales

  • Article by: ANNE D'INNOCENZIO
  • Associated Press
  • November 6, 2012 - 5:08 PM

NEW YORK - Superstorm Sandy knocked off nearly $4 billion of retail sales last week in the hard-hit Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region, nearly 20 percent of the usual total, according to figures released Tuesday by a retail data service.

MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse said Tuesday that the region, which accounts for about 24 percent of retail sales nationwide, typically generates $18.7 billion in sales for the week ended Saturday. But revenue came in at about $15 billion. The figures exclude auto sales.

"This was a significant negative event for the region," said Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis for SpendingPulse, which monitors all types of spending, including cash.

That dragged down the nationwide sales total for the Oct. 28-Nov. 3 period. Nationwide, retailers typically generate $78 billion in sales for that particular week, but McNamara, estimates the total ended up being about $74 billion.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were among the states that operated below normal retail capacity. For example, New York operated at about 79 percent of retail capacity. Typically, New York accounts for anywhere from 7.5 percent to 8 percent of U.S. sales, but last week the state accounted for about 6.3 percent.

Superstorm Sandy slammed into the Northeast on Oct. 29, disrupting business activity up and down the Eastern Seaboard and causing stores to close due to power outages, flooding and other problems. Meanwhile, many shoppers stayed close to home because of the weather and gas shortages.

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