Eastern retailers prepare for Hurricane Sandy

New York -- As Hurricane Sandy bears down on the northeastern U.S., retailers are doing more than stocking up on emergency supplies for their customers – they are making preparations to protect themselves.

According to a Friday report by MarketWatch, Sears Holdings Corp., for example, has a 45-person crisis command team in place to stay in close communication with its personnel housed at Sears and Kmart stores in the at-risk areas.

Sears told MarketWatch that it also has trailers on standby for a store that currently has some roof construction underway in order to relocate higher-priced merchandise to a nearby distribution center.

Wal-Mart Stores spokeswoman Dianna Gee said that about 800 of the company’s stores and Sam’s Clubs could be affected by the storm, and that the retailer would follow local authorities’ evacuation orders.

Wal-Mart, like Sears, has an emergency operation center and also has a full-time meteorologist on staff. The retailer’s emergency distribution centers around the U.S. are stocked with bottled water, canned foods and other emergency supplies.

Wal-Mart also has “truckloads of merchandise strategically located” outside of the projected areas to respond to any potential increase in demand after the storm passes, Gee told MarketWatch.