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Wal-Mart closes 123 stores from storm
Retailer and its rivals pledge money and relief supplies after Hurricane Katrina slams Gulf Coast.
August 31, 2005: 7:35 AM EDT
By Parija Bhatnagar, CNN/Money staff writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Wal-Mart said Tuesday that it closed more than 120 stores due to Hurricane Katrina while the world's largest retailer and some of its biggest rivals donated money and supplies to residents in affected areas along the Gulf Coast states.

Wal-Mart Stores (Research) said it would donate $1 million to the Salvation Army for relief assistance such as meals for victims and emergency and rescue personnel.

The retailer said it would also accept customer donations nationwide at all of its stores this week as well as credit-card contributions through

According to Wal-Mart spokeswoman Sharon Webber, about 123 Wal-Mart stores are currently closed in the Gulf Coast states. (For more on that story, click here).

Discounter Target Corp (Research). announced a $1.5 million donation to the American Red Cross. The company said in a statement that it was also coordinating the distribution of essential relief products requested by the Red Cross, including water, ice, energy bars and bug spray.

Lowe's (Research), the No. 2 home improvement chain after Home Depot, said it was accepting cash donations at stores nationwide to benefit the American Red Cross disaster relief fund. Additionally, the retailer said it would match in-store customer contributions up to $1 million.

"We'll have several hundred truckloads of cleaning products, roofing shingles, propane, gas cans and other emergency recovery items ready to help rebuild from this devastating storm," Nick Canter, Lowe's executive vice president of store operations, said in a statement.

Craig Johnson, president of retail consulting group Customer Growth Partners, said he expects Home Depot to soon announce relief plans as well. "Based on similar situations in the past, both Home Depot and Lowe's have responded quickly," Johnson said.

Office supply chain Office Depot (Research) pledged to contribute $1 million to the American Red Cross.

"We have many associates and facilities in harm's way ... we also have thousands of our customers who will suffer greatly as a result of this storm," Office Depot CEO Steve Odland said in a statement.

Beverage company Anheuser-Busch (Research) said it had shipped 12,600 cases of drinking water to the Red Cross to be distributed to victims in affected areas of Louisiana.

Said Johnson, "I wouldn't like to say that retailers could 'benefit' from the hurricane, but certainly Lowe's and Home Depot could likely see marginal spikes in their third-quarter sales as a result of the clean-up and repair efforts."  Top of page

Disaster Relief
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