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End of the world is good for business

Sales of food supplies, survival gear shoot up after rise in US-N Korea tensions

Micah Maidenberg | NYT 

Sales of food supplies, survival gear shoot up after rise in US-N Korea tensions
Emergency gear has its own retail niche, with devotees attending conventions and manufacturers coming up with speciality products. Photo: iSTOCK

Shoppers are buying six-month wrapped in military-grade Mylar pouches, and kits filled with duct tape, and an

Some that specialise in selling items to people planning for the worst — so-called — say they have had a bump in sales this week, after tensions rose between the United States and Online searches for prepping and survival gear have also jumped.

The increase in sales is a turnaround from recent months. Revenue fell after President Donald Trump’s election, according to three of the country’s larger that specialise in selling emergency preparedness.

“The whole industry kind of took a little pause after the election of Trump,” said Brandon J Garrett, director of marketing at The Ready Store, which sells a wide range of prep products online and via catalogue. “I think everyone was kind of waiting to see what kind of leader he was going to be and where he would take the country.”

“This week, it kind of seemed that everything picked up,” he said.

Emergency gear has its own retail niche, with devotees attending conventions and manufacturers coming up with speciality products. Some in the industry trace its rise to the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans; others believe it was stoked by those who opposed President Barack Obama’s two terms.

Prepper sell a wide variety of wares, from 41-pound pails of pinto beans and freeze-dried roasted chicken to fire-starter devices and water filters. Like other retailers, the have set up online sites, complete with one-day sales and discount codes. There are also traditional retail emergency readiness stores around the country.

operates four retail stores in The stores, in or near strip malls in towns outside of Salt Lake City, look a little like Petco, but the aisles are filled with ready-to-eat meals and solar generators instead of bags of kibble and litter.

The company got its start almost 30 years ago selling to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — the church stresses preparedness — but has expanded its business to serve a wider audience across the country, according to Kevan Allbee, a marketing manager for

When won, “sales started a downward decline,” Allbee said. “In short summary, what we understand is when the left is in power, the right panics.”

Shane Sullivan, the company’s president, said sales at on Tuesday, after made comments to reporters about North Korea, were double their usual amount. And revenue on Wednesday and Thursday surpassed what came in Tuesday.

First Published: Sun, August 13 2017. 22:38 IST
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