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Impact of Hurricane Florence
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Hurricane Florence made landfall in North and South Carolina on September 14, 2018, devastating homes and disrupting the lives of thousands of people.

Using our EarnestQuery tool, we analyzed how the storm impacted Grocers, Home, General Merchandise and Restaurant merchants before, during and after Florence hit.

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October 2018

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We looked at how Florence impacted different verticals, including Grocer, Home Goods and General Merchandise as residents stocked up on essential supplies ahead of the storm. In the week leading up to the hurricane, these verticals outperformed in North and South Carolina compared to the rest of the country.  

Restaurants showed stronger performance in the week following the hurricane, as an influx of out of state first responders and volunteers may have contributed to a growth in sales.


We analyzed the spend of ~50k North and South Carolina residents to see how their purchasing behaviors were impacted by the storm as people prepared or evacuated to nearby towns and surrounding states.


During the week Hurricane Florence made landfall, neighboring states Georgia and Florida saw 1.6x more dollars from Carolinians than the prior week, while Virginia saw 1.2x more.

General Merchandise merchants like BJ’s Wholesale, Dollar General, and Dollar Tree saw the most significant acceleration in sales growth in the week before the hurricane.


Week 36 of 2018 is lapping the week that Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017.


Analyzing the changes in market share of the top 15 restaurant chains in Florida and Georgia, we see that Cracker Barrel benefited the most from the influx of out-of-state dollars. Chick-fil-a, Firehouse Subs, and Chipotle lost ~1-1.8% of market share week over week.

General Merchandise Merchants: BJ's Wholesale (BJ), Costco Wholesale (COST), CVS (CVS), Dollar General (DG), Dollar Tree (DLTR), Ollie's Bargain Outlet (OLLI), Rite Aid (RAD), Shipt, Shopko, Target (TGT), Walgreens (WBA), Walmart (WMT-All).

Home Merchants:  Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), Casper, Crate & Barrel, Helix Sleep, Lowe's (LOW), Pier 1 Imports (PIR), Restoration Hardware (RH), Saatva, Tempur Sealy International (TPX), The Container Store (TCS), The Home Depot (HD), Tuesday Morning (TUES), Tuft & Needle, Wayfair (W), Williams-Sonoma (WSM).

Grocer Merchants: Ahold Delhaize, Albertsons, Aldi, Brandless, EG Group, Fresh Direct, Giant Eagle, HEB, Hy-Vee, Ingles Markets (IMKTA), Instacart, Kroger (KR), Lidl, Meijer, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage (NGVC), Safeway, Save-A-Lot, Smart & Final Stores (SFS), Southeastern Grocers, Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM), Supervalu (SVU), The Fresh Market (TFM), Thrive Market, Trader Joe’s, Wakefern, Wegmans, Weis Markets (WMK), Whole Foods Market (WFM).

Restaurant Merchants: BJ's Restaurants (BJRI), Bloomin' Brands (BLMN-O), Bojangles' (BOJA), Brinker International: Chili's (EAT-C), Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD), Cheesecake Factory (CAKE), Chick-fil-A, Chipotle (CMG), Cracker Barrel (CBRL), Darden (DRI), Del Taco (TACO), Denny's (DENN), Dine Equity (DIN), Domino's Pizza (DPZ), Dunkin' Brands (DNKN), El Pollo Loco (LOCO), Fiesta Restaurant Group (FRGI), Five Guys, Habit Restaurants (HABT), Jack in the Box (JACK), Luby's (LUB), McDonald's (MCD), Panera Bread (PNRA), Papa John's (PZZA), Papa Murphy's (FRSH), Potbelly (PBPB), Qdoba, Red Lobster, Red Robin (RRGB), Restaurant Brands (QSR), Ruby Tuesday (RT), Ruth's Hospitality Group (RUTH), Shake Shack (SHAK), Sonic Drive-In (SONC), Starbucks (SBUX), Texas Roadhouse (TXRH), Wendy's (WEN), Wingstop (WING), Yum! Brands (YUM), Zoe's Kitchen (ZOES).