Pope Francis’ 6-day US visit to affect businesses on the East Coast
The Alitalia plane taking Pope Francis from Cuba to the US touched down on Tuesday. As the Papal visit is set to begin in the US two things are expected: millions of Americans will clamor to their city streets for a chance to see and meet Pope Francis, and businesses in the cities that Pope Francis will visit will be affected.
The American media reported on Monday that the highly anticipated iPhone 6S and 6S Plus cell phone releases may be delayed due to the Papal visit. Further reports are finding that as many as 28 US ZIP codes may receive late shipments. FedEx and the USPS have said that they will not cancel service, but customers may experience service delays.
In New York City, brands close to St. Patrick’s Cathedral where Pope Francis will hold evening prayers will adhere to street closures by closing stores earlier on Thursday. A barricade will be set up along Fiftth Avenue from 55th street to 48th street.
Representatives of brands, Michael Kors, Façonnable, Banana Republic, Cole Haan and Zara, which all have stores close to the church, confirmed to WWD that they will close early Thursday evening. Armani Exchange and Salvatore Ferragamo are reported to be taking a wait-and-see approach, and Saks Fifth Avenue, H&M, Topshop and Uniqlo on Fifth Avenue and The Shops at Columbus Circle will keep normal business hours.
Macy’s also seems to be unfazed by the Papal visit, according to WWD. The retailer said that it would maintain regular store hours at the same time of Pope Francis’ Mass service at Madison Square Garden, which will be attended by 20,000 people.
Smaller retailers are hoping the visit will bring sales. The American media reported that retailers would sell Pope Francis merchandise, like Aramark in Philadelphia that has been chosen as one of the official retailers for the World Meeting of Families-Philadelphia 2015, as well as Boscov’s Department Store chain, which began receiving t-shirts and other products since the summer.
"People are passionate and excited about the visit," said Mike Fanelli, store manager for Boscov's in Deptford, Gloucester County, New Jersey. "Everybody wants to have a little piece of the event, and it's nice to have a positive thing happening in the Philadelphia area."
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