While millions on the East Coast were being pummeled by what is being considered one of the worst weather disasters in recent history, many retailers were hoping to make a profit.
In the midst of Hurricane Sandy, Monday evening, American Apparel sent out an email blast offering 20 percent off to customers for the next 36 hours, “in case you’re bored during the storm,” the email read.
The email also included a map of the United States with the north eastern portion highlighted, detailing that the sale was valid only in states expected to be most effected by the hurricane; Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland.
The ad goes on to instruct costumers to “Just Enter SANDYSALE at Checkout.”
Mashable suggests that the retailer was targeting “online shoppers who are staying indoors to seek refuge from the storm;” however, many who received the email blast were not amused, nor urged to do any online shopping.
Backlash on Twitter and other social media websites quickly followed, as most found the ad “tacky and insensitive,” and threatened to boycott the retailer.
Whitney Hess, @whitneyhess tweeted, “I just received a "Hurricane Sandy sale" email blast from @americanapparel. I will forever boycott their stores. RT if you're with me.”
David Honig, @davehonig tweeted, “Really @americanapparel? Sandy Sale email blast? really? The lowest of low. RT this if you are insulted.”
American Apparel wasn’t the only retailer attempting to garner a few sales during the hurricane, turned tropical storm.
Comedian Ana Gasteyer tweeted, “I'd like to thank @ Costco @ OldNavy and @ jcrew for their frequent Emails during this stressful time, # Sandy,” after noticing an “influx of unnecessary brand bombardment on Monday,” Shine from Yahoo reported.
Retailer, Anthrolpologie also sent out a thinly veiled tweet during the storm, reading, “Thinking happy thoughts-like a new catalog & free shipping on US orders of $100+ with code AUTUMN.”
Luxury retailer, Barney’s sent out a suggestive tweet, “Word of the Day: Hunker. We recommend browsing Barneys.com and staying inside.”
While the Gap, checked into the “Frankenstorm Apocalypse,” via Foursquare, stating that it planned to do “lots of Gap.com shopping,” during the hurricane.
While many remain not amused at these advertising tactics, Shine suggests that retailers are preparing for their own fallout in the aftermath of the storm.
With consumers now more interested in stocking up on supplies than shopping for clothes, and several store locations suffering from damage and closures after Sandy; even with the holiday shopping season approaching, many retailers may lose up to three percent of their overall profits, according to a new report.
Citigroup analyst, Oliver Chen, spoke with Bloomberg News, and suggests that many retailers may also see an up to 40 percent drop in their online sales during the first week of November, as many customers are dealing with, “power and internet outages, unexpected home repairs, general uprooting,” on top of now being deeply offended by their inappropriate social media updates.