Laura is a category four hurricane that made landfall Thursday, August 27, 2020, in areas of Texas and Louisiana. It has moved towards Arkansas, weakening to a tropical storm. The hurricane has caused the closure of 52 Walmart stores across the two states.
Storm surges are still causing heavy rains and flooding as Laura wends its way inland. More than 800,000 customers have lost power in Louisiana and Texas, and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has stated that at least six people have died in his state. Due to concerns about the hurricane, some Louisiana parishes have instated curfews.
As of August 26, all of the following stores have been closed, sorted by Region, Market, and then Store Number.
Supply chain best practices for a hurricane
There are a few key practices to follow to create a resilient supply chain during a hurricane. If you sell “emergency” items for natural disasters (e.g., bottled water or batteries), you should attempt to get as much product to affected stores as soon as possible. One way to do this is by working with replenishment managers directly. Another is to create a Store-Specific Order (SSO) to ship products straight to the affected stores.
However, some suppliers will see a reduction in sales as the stores close. If you are a non-emergency supplier, make sure to not ship to the closed stores or distribution centers as no one will be available to receive the orders. Instead, focus on shipping to other stores and DCs. Work with your replenishment manager on making sure you cancel POs for the correct reasons to avoid OTIF fines. Otherwise, expect replenishment as normal.
No matter what you sell, it’s important to stay in touch with your replenishment manager during natural disasters to make sure you’re communicating your needs. DCs and stores may be closed for days or even weeks due to damages, and some may be destroyed permanently.
Walmart is tracking the storm closely out of concern for its customers, associates, and suppliers. To this end, Walmart has created a Hurricane Laura status page you can visit to view updates.