Nike Latest to Be Bitten by Bedbugs
By Tom Ryan
Niketown on East 57th Street in Manhattan became the latest New York City
store to be infested with bedbugs. Store windows on Friday were covered with
brown paper with the notice "temporarily
closed until further notice."
A statement from Nike said the company had "proactively
closed Niketown" after
finding evidence of bedbugs.
"Our primary concern is the well being of our consumers and sales associates," the
statement said. "We are taking all proper steps to eradicate the problem
and we expect the store to reopen shortly."
Niketown joins Hollister, Abercombie & Fitch
and Victoria’s Secret that have seen stores in Manhattan temporarily closed
due to bedbugs. Each store infestation has been splayed across the pages of
tabloids along with cases reported at the AMC Times Square theater, Google’s
New York offices, the Empire State Building and elsewhere.
At least publicly,
Bergdorf Goodman has been most proactive in dealing with the bedbug scare.
An insect-sniffing beagle has been hired to parole its men’s and women’s departments
over the last several weeks although no bedbugs have been found.
"The anxiety level is clearly high in New York," Ginger
Reeder, vice president of corporate communications for Bergdorf Goodman, told The
Daily News. "It seemed important to go the extra mile."
Lord & Taylor
also told Women’s Wear Daily it has increased the
frequency of exterminations to once a week while not finding any bugs. But
other stores WWD attempted
to contact to explore their bedbug strategies, including Saks, Bloomingdale’s,
Ralph Lauren, Gap, and J.Crew, declined comment.
Speaking to New York Magazine,
bedbug expert Timothy Wong said more stores in New York City are taking preventive
measures behind the scenes. But he also said bedbug cases have been on the
rise in the city for the last few years. "The
public just didn’t know about
it because it’s not something people want to announce," Mr. Wong
New York Magazine‘s style blogger Amy Odell wrote that while fashion
companies naturally "don’t want to be associated with something
gross like bedbugs," she wondered why there weren’t more assurances.
"Some shoppers are afraid to go into the wild world of carpeted stores
full of wooden shelves and knit sweaters and so many things made of
fabric and other bedbug-friendly materials," said Ms. Odell. "Is
it so hard to reassure us that a bedbug-prevention plan will be in place?"
control company Terminix listed New York as the most bedbug-infested city in
the U.S., followed by Philadelphia, Detroit, Cincinnati and Chicago.
Discussion questions: Should New York City stores be more proactive about
communicating bedbug-prevention strategies with consumers? What other steps should
stores be taking?
- Bedbugs close down flagship Nike store, Niketown New York, in Manhattan – The
- Does This Bug You, Too? – Women’s Wear Daily (sub. required)
- Bergdorf Goodman has gone to the dogs – store brings in beagle to head off
bedbugs – The Daily News
- Retailers Seem Afraid to Talk About Bedbugs – New York Magazine
- Bedbugs Strike Again, This Time at Victoria’s Secret on Lexington – New