Unrest over the Memorial Day killing of an unarmed black man at the hands of white Minneapolis police officers exploded from peaceful protests into fiery, riotous violence over the weekend as demonstrators moved on from exclusively unleashing their anger on Target to openly looting retailers and blocking traffic in cities across the U.S.
Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive shut down Saturday as demonstrators protesting George Floyd’s death choked off traffic to the world-famous shopping district where luxury’s elite including Saint Laurent, Fendi, Alexander McQueen and Marc Jacobs rub shoulders and court a moneyed clientele. The timing of the protests and riots, on the heels of closely watched reopening efforts, deals another devastating blow to a retail industry already reeling from months of coronavirus store closures.
As states begin to roll back restrictions limiting social and business activity, retailers are desperate to reverse months of falling sales as many begin reopening their store fleets and recalling furloughed or laid-off workers. April specialty-store sales plummeted 89.3 percent while consumer spending on clothing and shoes for the month shrank 30 percent as the coronavirus pandemic snatched 40.7 million jobs from an economy expected to suffer the worst collapse since the Great Depression.
Civil unrest first targeted Minneapolis-based Target, which quickly closed 70 Minnesota stores Friday evening after originally announcing 33 closures earlier that afternoon. By Sunday morning, the mass merchant had shuttered 175 stores in more than half a dozen states.
Looters pillaged Victoria’s Secret in San Francisco’s Union Square, while Urban Outfitters stores in Philadelphia and New York City’s Union Square were left in shambles as rioters smashed store windows and spirited merchandise away.
Rioters assaulted Los Angeles’ Caruso-owned The Grove shopping center Saturday, looting Nordstrom and Apple stores, the L.A. Times reported. This comes as the Seattled-based department store already announced 16 permanent store closures as the pandemic forced the firm to slim down its fleet.
Simon Property Group’s Greenwood Park Mall outside Indianapolis closed Saturday as protests in the Indiana capital turned violent, a stunning setback as the nation’s largest mall operator had just begun reopening 49 shopping centers as April drew to a close.
“Due to recent events, Simon Property Group has decided to close the Greenwood Park Mall at noon today. We are monitoring the current situation closely with Simon Property Group and other local agencies,” Greenwood Police Department assistant chief of police Matthew Fillenwarth said in a statement Saturday, according to the Southside Times.
The Indianapolis-based real estate investment trust’s first-quarter net income fell 20.2 percent to $437.6 million, or $1.43 a diluted share, from $548.5 million, or $1.78, in the year-ago quarter, largely due to shelter-in-place orders than shuttered its properties in March. Total revenues, meanwhile, slid 6.8 percent to $1.35 billion from $1.45 billion, which included a 1.4 percent decline in leasing income to $1.26 billion from $1.28 billion.