KEY POINTS
  • Retailers are on edge after raiders earlier this year smashed windows, stole merchandise and, at times, set stores ablaze in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Portland and other U.S. cities
  • As security experts warn that the U.S. presidential election could spark renewed civil unrest, stores remain clad in plywood.
  • Retailers now are seeking to keep property and employees safe in the event street violence flares anew.

This time last year, shoppers on Chicago's Magnificent Mile were waiting for Louis Vuitton to debut its whimsical holiday window decorations. Now those same windows are hidden behind a wall of wood panels painted bright orange.

While still open for shoppers, stores like Gucci, H&M and Nordstrom are also boarded up after looters targeted the city's famed retail district in the spring and summer, when protests gripped more than 100 U.S. cities.