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.
Sapna Maheshwari is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Maheshwari reports on retail and e-commerce.
Contact Sapna Maheshwari at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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