Foot traffic to Five Below has been increasing steadily for the past several years, but the pandemic catalyzed a major growth spurt. We dove into this rising retail giant to understand what contributed to its astronomical rise. In mid-March, 2020, Five Below announced that it would close all of its stores in response to the emerging Coronavirus. But even at the height of the COVID closures, Five Below CEO and President Joel Anderson (formerly the CEO of Walmart) could already see the potential opportunity.
We’ve previously discussed the strength of grocery stores during the pandemic. Here, we’ll dive into two European grocers – Aldi and Lidl – who have deepened their foothold in the US over the past few years. In a recent survey that we conducted in March 2022 of US-based adults aged 18 to 64, data shows that compared to pre-pandemic, a majority of people in the US (52.3%) are doing more of their grocery shopping online. At the same time, the vast majority of respondents – 62.5% – also stated that they visit physical grocery stores more often or about the same as they did pre-COVID
Last year, foot traffic to Lululemon and Athleta consistently outpaced 2019 levels, buoyed by the growing interest in health and wellness and the rising demand for comfortable clothes. With Q1 2022 behind us, and on the heels of Lululemon’s recent footwear launch, we dove back into the data to understand how this year is shaping up for these two athleisure category leaders.
From Omicron’s impact on January visits to rising gas prices in March, the first quarter of 2022 was rife with challenges. Yet, even within this difficult environment, some retailers outperformed and showed unique levels of strength in the face of an ever-mounting series of obstacles. Here are some of the retailers and segments that thrived in an especially difficult Q1.
The travel industry has seen its fair share of challenges over the past two years. As the wider situation begins to stabilize, will we see travel trends bounce back to pre-COVID levels? We took a closer look at Q1 2022 foot traffic data for hotels, airports, and major convention centers to find out. Travel agents are predicting that domestic tourism may return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, as people finally get to take those trips they’d been putting off. We took a look at data to see if those predictions are reflected in the foot traffic.
Around this time two years ago, it was becoming clear that COVID wasn’t going away so quickly. Large corporations and smaller companies that a few months before the pandemic would not have dreamed of allowing work-from-home (WFH), were adjusting to managing a fully remote workforce. And, workers were learning that they enjoyed getting back almost an hour a day that was previously spent commuting while being just as productive.
Over the past couple of years, buying second-hand clothes has become mainstream – and the pandemic seems to have given the sector a further boost. We dove into foot traffic of several leading brick and mortar apparel resellers to find out how the rise in thrifting is impacting visits to second-hand stores. The second-hand apparel market in the United States has been growing for quite some time, with consumers citing ethical, financial, and environmental concerns as their motivation for visiting thrift shopping.
While the early months of the pandemic were defined by retail restrictions for top performing malls and retail centers, 2021 and early 2022 need to be understood with the wider context of volatility engulfing the space. Visits saw a strong return in the summer, before the Delta variant cut off the growth. Then October saw a boost before November and December were affected by supply chain challenges, inflation and the onset of Omicron.
It will soon be five years since Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market and made its first foray into the brick and mortar grocery space. We dove into the data to understand Whole Foods’ evolution since the acquisition, see how the legacy grocery is recovering from the pandemic’s impact and determine what may be next for the Whole Foods-Amazon partnership.
The fitness foot traffic recovery may be underway, but that doesn’t mean that gym-goers are returning to their pre-COVID patterns. Consumer preferences have shifted over the past couple of years and are driving major changes in many established retail categories, including the fitness space. Here, we take a look at how LA Fitness, a pre-pandemic category leader, is adapting its offering to today’s consumers through its new value-priced chain, Esporta Fitness.
In this Placer Bytes, we analyze retailers and restaurants – Winn Dixie, 7-Eleven, Olive Garden, and Panera Bread – whose performance could indicate how their wider sectors are performing. Grocery chains were among the clear winners of 2021, and there were some specific chains that seemed uniquely poised for a strong year in 2022. Given the success of the grocery sector over the past two years and the numerous examples of grocery chains’ success, some grocers in that mix that seemed uniquely and positively affected by the pandemic’s impact may not have been called out. Winn-Dixie was one of those chains.
Our latest white paper examines recent changes in consumer behavior patterns. Over the past two years, the rise of omnichannel, shifts towards hybrid work, the growth of leisure activities, and increased economic uncertainty all contributed to rapid and unpredictable shifts in when, how, and where consumers shop. These changes impact every facet of retail strategy, from chain-level considerations like when to open stores, shelf-level arrangements on where to place products, to product-specific decisions for pricing, packaging, and marketing goods.
Although the gas price hike has finally slowed down, the national average price per gallon [is still up](https://www.gasbuddy.com/go/gas-prices-fade-for-most-west-coast-keeps-rising) 71.5 cents from a month ago and $1.37 per gallon higher than a year ago. We dove into the foot traffic data to find out how rising gas prices and elevated food prices are impacting retail visitation trends. Over the week of March 7th, nationwide overall retail visits declined by 4.3% compared to the equivalent week three years ago – the most severe decline in weekly retail foot traffic over the past twelve months that wasn’t directly tied to COVID waves or holiday calendar shifts.
In this Placer Bytes, we dive into two companies that dominated headlines in recent weeks – Starbucks and Dollar General. Earlier this month, Starbucks announced that it would be expanding its physical footprint and that CEO Kevin Johnson would be retiring. The announcement comes at a particularly interesting time for a company that has proven incredibly resilient in the face of COVID and the corresponding disruptions to normal routines and shifts to hybrid work.
On Tuesday, March 15th 2022, we hosted Billy Taubman, President and COO of Taubman Centers, and Placer’s Ben Witten, Senior Solutions Engineer, for a webinar entitled “Mall Update: Yearly Review and What Lies Ahead.” Taubman is a major REIT that owns, manages, and leases 20 premier regional, super-regional, and outlet shopping malls throughout the U.S. Combining Billy Taubman and Ben Witten’s on-the-ground perspective with our data-driven understanding of the mall sector yielded valuable insights, some of which are summarized below.
We took a look at some of the leading steakhouse chains in the US to find out how the sector is recovering and what the future might hold. Indoor dining was one of the industries most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite two years of lockdowns, restrictions, and lingering limits on indoor dining, visits to Texas Roadhouse and Longhorn Steakhouse are on the rise. Even amidst the overall decrease in dining trends nationwide over the past two years, these two chains have maintained their overall growth pattern.
Footwear retailers showed a surprising resilience throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. We took a closer look at some of the best-performing shoe retailers to find out how the sector is faring and what we can expect to see in the near future. Despite the increase in online shopping over the past two years, physical shoe stores appear to be holding their own – and the strength is especially apparent for the value-priced footwear chains. Since the spring of 2021, leading footwear retailers in this category have seen a dramatic year-over-two-year (Yo2Y) increase in visits as consumers returned to in-person shopping.
Dick’s Sporting Goods is taking its omnichannel strategy to the next level by adding an experiential component to its already strong digital and brick and mortar presence. We analyzed some of the brand’s recent ventures to see what we can learn from this omnichannel pioneer. Dick’s Sporting Goods has been working to make its technology and physical stores complement and elevate each other for almost a decade. The company started shipping online orders directly from its stores in 2013 and launched “Buy Online Pick-up In Stores” (BOPIS) already in 2014 – long before the pandemic made BOPIS widespread.
Visits to pet supply shops have seen significant growth over the past two years. We took a closer look at foot traffic trends for Petco and PetSmart to see how the pet supply visit leaders fared over the past two years. Demand for pet supplies skyrocketed for the last two years. As work from home became widespread, homebound pet owners and first-time pet parents drove significant and lasting visit growth to brick and mortar pet supply stores.
We analyzed foot traffic trends for leading plus size retailers – Torrid, Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, and Destination XL – to find out where the brick and mortar plus size apparel category stands two years into the COVID pandemic. The pandemic dealt a mixed hand to the plus-size apparel sector. Ascena Retail Group, owner of plus size apparel brands Catherines and Lane Bryant, filed for bankruptcy As a result, Catherines permanently shuttered its brick and mortar business to focus exclusively on its online store, and Lane Bryant announced the permanent closure of over 150 stores.