Disruptions to stores, ports, plants spread ahead of Hurricane Matthew

CHICAGO, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Disruptions to air travel, manufacturing, supply chains and retail stores spread on Friday as Hurricane Matthew worked its way up Florida’s Atlantic coast, leaving people and goods stranded and plants idled.

After cancelling a total of 590 flights on Thursday, American Airlines Group Inc canceled 580 on Friday and 160 on Saturday. A spokesman said flights had resumed in Miami on Friday morning.

Delta Air Lines Inc said it had canceled 240 flights for Friday, and roughly 80 for Saturday for northeastern Florida, coastal Georgia and South Carolina.

Southwest Airlines Co canceled 130 flights for Friday and 95 for Saturday.

The storm had also caused railroads and retailers to suspend or curtail operations.

Ports in Florida and up the coast, including Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, also suspended operations.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc said it had closed a number of stores ahead of Hurricane Matthew. A spokesman said the company is using its experience of past disasters to anticipate what goods may be in greater demand after the storm passes.

Office supply retailer Staples Inc said it had closed stores in line with emergency evacuation guidelines. Nike Inc has closed facilities in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina and encouraged “employees to follow the guidance of state and local officials to evacuate areas in the path of the storm.”

Manufacturers were also affected.

Deere & Co closed its Miami, Florida, office for three to four days, and several of its Nortrax construction equipment dealerships around the state.

“We basically want people to go home and take care of their own personal property,” spokesman Ken Golden said. “For their safety we would rather have them doing whatever the government disaster officials are saying.”

Boeing Co suspended production on Wednesday at its South Carolina plant in North Charleston, and in Florida, including Miami, the Kennedy Space Center, Jacksonville and Orlando. The company said it was monitoring the situation for its operations in Georgia and North Carolina.

Auto supplier WABCO Holdings Inc halted production in Charleston, South Charleston and said that “weather permitting,” work would resume on Monday, Oct. 10.

Honda Motor Co Ltd spokesman Chris Abbruzzese said the company was evaluating the impact of Hurricane Matthew.

“At this point, the hurricane will not impact any of our manufacturing plants,” he wrote. “We are, however, monitoring any potential impacts to our supply chain.” (Additional reporting by Nandita Bose in Chicago and Abhijith Ganapavaram in Bengaluru; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)