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Bob Moon: Wal-Mart is keeping a wary eye on the eye of what was Hurricane Hanna — and could yet be again. Forecasters say the tropical storm has plenty of time to strengthen back into a hurricane before possibly striking Florida and Georgia later in the week. And Wal-Mart’s concerned because if the storm follows its current path, it could take aim at three times as many stores as Gustav had threatened. As the Gulf Coast regroups from that storm, retail businesses will be trying to re-open quickly. Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman reports.
Mitchell Hartman: The big grocery chains were ready for this storm. Albertsons spokeswoman Jen Vroman says her company has trucks rolling in from Texas. All but five of Albertsons 15 stores in Southern Louisiana should be open by this morning.
Jen Vroman: We’ve been staging product for the last several weeks, just knowing what we would need-ice, water, batteries, perishable products, charcoal, we find a lot of customers are out grilling, because they don’t have power.
People who work in grocery stores and gas stations got passes to return early. Greg Larose edits the newspaper New Orleans CityBusiness. I reached him where he’d evacuated in Baton Rouge.
Greg Larose: Because we haven’t seen the widespread residential destruction that we did post-Katrina, it leads me to believe that people are going to come back and therefore, you know, they’re going to be counting on these stores to be open when they do get back.
He says, as New Oreleaneans like him return, demand for food and basic supplies should help retailers bounce back quickly.
I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.
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