"Mall Violence" Becomes A Business Risk In Teen Retailer’s Annual Filing

Zumiez lost two employees in a January shooting. Terror strikes or mall violence “could lead to lower customer traffic in shopping malls.”

Zumiez, the teen retailer that sells action-sports merchandise, added “mall violence” to a list of business risks in its annual filing today, following a January tragedy that left two of its employees dead.

It appears to be the first corporation to cite “mall violence” as a risk in a search of annual filings dating back to 1970.

“Any threat of terrorist attacks or actual terrorist events, or other types of mall violence, such as shootings in malls, particularly in public areas, could lead to lower customer traffic in shopping malls,” Zumiez said in its 10-K. Last year’s filing didn’t include a reference to mall violence, though it did include “the effects of war or acts of terrorism” as a risk. Zumiez is a mall chain that sells skate and surf brands, similar to PacSun and Tilly’s.

It’s a grim addition after a 19-year-old gunman randomly killed two Zumiez employees at Maryland’s Columbia Mall on Jan. 25. Authorities say the killer had no connection to the victims, Brianna Benlolo, 21, of College Park, Md., and Tyler Johnson, 25, of Ellicott City, Md.

Consumer companies list all kinds of risks in annual filings, from the chance they might not be able to keep up with “customer tastes and fashion trends” to threats including bad weather, credit card hacks, and rising health care costs. Indeed, Zumiez had already listed “the armed conflicts in the Middle East, or the threat, escalation or commencement of war or other armed conflict elsewhere,” as a risk last year, despite the fact that nearly all of its 551 stores are in the U.S.

The new language around violence at malls does, however, seem to acknowledge growing concern around shootings in public places, both in the U.S. and beyond.

Zumiez’s updated risk factor, filed today:


The effects of war or acts of terrorism, or other types of mall violence, could adversely affect our business.

Most of our stores are located in shopping malls. Any threat of terrorist attacks or actual terrorist events, or other types of mall violence, such as shootings in malls, particularly in public areas, could lead to lower customer traffic in shopping malls. In addition, local authorities or mall management could close shopping malls in response to security concerns. Mall closures, as well as lower customer traffic due to security concerns, could result in decreased sales. Additionally, the armed conflicts in the Middle East, or the threat, escalation or commencement of war or other armed conflict elsewhere, could significantly diminish consumer spending, and result in decreased sales for us. Decreased sales could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Via ir.zumiez.com

Zumiez risk factor from its 2013 filing:


The effects of war or acts of terrorism could adversely affect our business.

Most of our stores are located in shopping malls. Any threat of terrorist attacks or actual terrorist events, particularly in public areas, could lead to lower customer traffic in shopping malls. In addition, local authorities or mall management could close shopping malls in response to security concerns. Mall closures, as well as lower customer traffic due to security concerns, could result in decreased sales. Additionally, the armed conflicts in the Middle East, or the threat, escalation or commencement of war or other armed conflict elsewhere, could significantly diminish consumer spending, and result in decreased sales for us. Decreased sales could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Via ir.zumiez.com

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