Was American Apparel's Hurricane Sandy sale in bad taste?

americanapparel2.jpgSeems pretty benign to me, but a whole bunch of online yentas are up in arms over the supposed insensitivity of the L.A.-based retailer, which sent out emails to shoppers in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, NY, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland that offered 20 percent off over 36 hours. In an Internet universe where most everything is fair game, insensitivity complaints are quite a stretch. Besides, other merchants were offering storm-related promotions and Saks, that most high brow of retailers, encouraged customers to shop online. For good reason - millions of people in the Northeast were bored. But American Apparel has a way of attracting the wrong kind of attention - no doubt helped along by its controversial CEO, Dov Charney From Fashionista:

When reached for comment over email, an American Apparel spokesperson told us, "Of course we'd never mean to offend anyone and when we put the email out yesterday it came from a good place." The motivation, the retailer explained, "is that retail stores are the lifeline of a brand like ours so when they are closed, we need to come up with ways to make up for that lost revenue. People forget how expensive it is to run a Made in USA brand like American Apparel and if we made a mistake here it came from the good place of trying to keep the machine going-for the sake of our employees and stakeholders."

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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