Groupon Targets Hungry, Powerless New Yorkers (Update 1)

Updated to include American Apparel "Hurricane Sandy Sale"

New York ( TheStreet) -- In a display of its targeted ads prowess -- or poor judgment -- daily deals site Groupon ( GRPN) is sending out mobile and email ads targeting powerless and hungry New Yorkers hit by Hurricane Sandy.

In a targeted deal called International Dinner in the Dark sent to New York area users, Groupon is offering a discount on two- and four-person meals at Dans le Noir, an international-themed restaurant on West 38th street in midtown Manhattan.

"Blocking one sense is said to heighten the others: musicians tend to play with their eyes closed, and artists only paint when their noses are all stuffed up. Taste more clearly with this Groupon," wrote the daily deals site, in what could allusion to a blackout affecting millions of New York area residents as of Tuesday.

Alternatively, the Groupon is for an in-the-dark dining experience, which could have been sent to New Yorkers in the morning without regard to Hurricane Sandy and widespread blackouts.

The deal may receive mixed reviews from New Yorkers facing what President Obama calls a major disaster. Many of New York City's restaurants and supermarkets remain closed in the aftermath of Sandy, as residents wake up without power and water, in some instances.

According to Groupon's Web site, the deal is on after at least 20 users purchased coupons for the dinner this morning. Still, Groupon's mocking tone to the widespread power outages impacting Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island may test the patience of some.

TheStreet reported that as of early Tuesday morning, more than 7.5 million people are without power nationally after Sandy made landfall. It killed at least 16 people in seven states and is expected to move into western New York on Tuesday night and into Canada on Wednesday.

Lower Manhattan, where the New York Stock Exchange floor is located, was still largely without power Tuesday morning after energy company Con Edison ( ED) shut off most of the electricity in the area to protect electrical equipment from the massive storm surge caused by Sandy.

Investors looking to buy or sell Groupon shares will have to wait until at least Wednesday to trade U.S. stocks. The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq announced on Monday that U.S. equity and option markets would be closed through Tuesday.

Groupon shares sit at $4.47 and have shed nearly 80% of their value in 2012 as of Friday's close. The daily deals site is struggling to grow revenue and operate at a profit since its November 2011 initial public offering.

Mashable reported teen clothing company American Apparel ( AAP) angered Twitter users with a "Hurricane Sandy Sale" that offers email shoppers a 20% discount on purchases over the next 36 hours. American Apparel stated in the email that it's offering the discount "in case you're bored during the storm" and told customers to "Just Enter SANDYSALE at Checkout," according to Mashable.

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-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York

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