September 1, 2011, 4:18 PM

Hurricane Irene siphons an e-retailer’s site traffic

But US-Mattress.com hopes for more sales as consumers replace ruined items.

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Consumers along the eastern seaboard weren’t spending their time indoors shopping online as Hurricane Irene moved up the coast, says one e-retailer whose web traffic from states in the storm’s path dropped an average of 30% over the weekend compared with the weekend before.

Hurricane Irene produced the poorest weekend sales I can ever recall,” says Jamie Braxton, marketing manager for US-Mattress.com, an e-retailer of mattresses and home furnishings.

Web traffic from Rhode Island decreased 57%, the largest drop-off for the e-retailer during Irene. At the height of the storm, 330,000 customers of National Grid, Rhode Island’s primary electricity provider, had no power. As of today, 81,000 still lack electricity, according to the utility’s latest reports. Traffic from Connecticut to US-Mattress.com dropped 51%, while traffic from New Jersey was off 47%, thanks again to widespread power outages. The smallest drops in traffic came from Florida, down 8%, Massachusetts, down 16%, and South Carolina, down 21%.

 US-Mattress.com says traffic and sales have yet to recover although it expects sales will increase during the next few months as consumers replace items ruined in the storm. US-Mattress.com anticipates it may win business from consumers along the East Coast because retailers in the region are contending with damaged stores and waterlogged merchandise. US-Mattress.com is based in Michigan and ships from warehouses in Indiana, Ohio and Utah, none of which were affected by the storm.  “We look forward to providing a good night’s sleep to East Coasters,” Braxton says.

Mattress USA Inc., which operates US-Mattress.com, is No. 388 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide.

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