Beauty companies like Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ: ULTA) have been in the spotlight over the past several months, in response to rising cosmetic sales in the wake of high inflation and economic uncertainty (a phenomenon sometimes referred to as the “lipstick effect”). In fact, Ulta recently surpassed investors’ expectations in its third quarter earnings report and even boosted its holiday sales outlook. So how did the beauty retailer’s holiday sales fare? Using consumer transaction data, Bloomberg Second Measure analyzed holiday spending trends at Ulta and its LVMH-owned competitor Sephora.
Over the past several years, teen-focused jewelry retailer Claire’s Stores Inc went from filing for bankruptcy to filing for an IPO, as the company gradually expanded its offerings to attract new customers and experimented with different omnichannel strategies. Our analysis of U.S. consumer spending data since 2019 found that a higher proportion of the company’s direct-to-consumer sales come from new customers versus returning customers. At the same time, most of Claire’s DTC sales still come from brick-and-mortar stores rather than its ecommerce site—although online sales typically spike each November, likely fueled by the company’s major Cyber Monday sale.
As the battle for consumer spending intensifies in the 2022 holiday season, Bloomberg Second Measure analyzed three major big-box retailers known for their Black Friday events—Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT), Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT), and Best Buy Co, Inc (NYSE: BBY)—to see how they fared during Black Friday week. Using consumer transaction data, we found that Walmart outperformed its peers in terms of overall year-over-year sales growth in the U.S. Additionally, all three companies saw greater year-over-year growth in their online sales than their retail sales.
Pandemic-driven shifts away from retail shopping during the 2020 holiday season raised the question of whether sales events such as Black Friday would draw shoppers back to stores in 2021. Looking at in-store consumer trends for major department store companies—Macy’s Inc (NYSE: M), Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS), Dillard’s (NYSE: DDS), J.C. Penney, and Nordstrom Inc (NYSE: JWN)—during Black Friday week over the past three years, only Dillard’s retail sales during Black Friday week in 2021 reached pre-COVID levels. Among the public department store companies in this peer group, Kohl’s also saw the highest share of its fiscal quarter sales occur during Black Friday week.
Following a reported sales slowdown in its second fiscal quarter, department store chain Dillard’s Inc (NYSE: DDS) exceeded investors’ expectations with the release of its third quarter earnings report. Prior to the Q3 earnings surprise announcement, transaction data from Bloomberg Second Measure projected Dillard’s third quarter revenue within 1 percent of the company’s reported revenue.
As the holiday season approaches, retailers are gearing up for major sales events like Black Friday. Among these are sporting goods retailers, which reportedly saw an increase in demand for camping and outdoor gear during pandemic lockdowns. So how did these companies fare during Black Friday week over the last few years? Our peer analysis of major sporting goods retailers—Academy Sports & Outdoors (NASDAQ: ASO), Big 5 Sporting Goods (NASDAQ: BGFV), Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS), REI, and Sportsman’s Warehouse (NASDAQ: SPWH)—found that Sportsman’s Warehouse saw the most customer growth during Black Friday week in 2021.
For the first time ever, Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) hosted two Prime Day sales events in the same year—one in July and one in October of 2022. So how did the Amazon Prime Day 2022 results in October fare against previous Prime Days, as well as competing sales events held by retail competitors Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT) and Target Corp (NYSE: TGT)? Consumer transaction data reveals that Amazon.com Inc’s U.S. consumer sales during the week of the Prime sales event in October 2022 were lower than Amazon Prime Day week in July 2022, but higher than Prime Day weeks in prior years.
Despite high inflation and rising menu prices, full-service restaurants (FSRs) have been staging a comeback. Consumer transaction data reveals that for major FSR competitors—Bloomin’ Brands (NASDAQ: BLMN), The Cheesecake Factory Inc (NASDAQ: CAKE), Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc (NASDAQ: CBRL), Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI), Denny’s Corp (NASDAQ: DENN), and Dine Brands Global (NYSE: DIN)—sales in the third quarter of 2022 were higher than they were in the same quarter of 2019.
Pet supply companies saw their sales rise early in the pandemic, as many U.S. consumers adopted pets during the pandemic lockdowns. In the case of Chewy (NYSE: CHWY), a digitally-native pet supply company, sales remain elevated more than two years into the pandemic, Bloomberg Second Measure’s consumer transaction data shows. A closer look reveals, however, that the company’s year-over-year growth in sales slowed down between January and August of 2022, compared with the corresponding periods in 2020 and 2021, while customer counts during most months of 2022 remained relatively consistent year-over-year, but higher than in 2020 and 2019.
A combination of inflation, changing consumer tastes, and inventory challenges have reportedly hit clothing companies hard in 2022. In fact, several fashion retailers—including Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF), American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO), and Urban Outfitters, Inc (NASDAQ: URBN)—missed revenue estimates in their second quarter earnings reports. We analyzed consumer spending trends at these fashion retailers, as well as competitor Aeropostale Inc, to see how sales performance, average monthly spending per customer, and ecommerce trends fared in recent months and compared to before the pandemic.
Following Party City Holdco Inc’s (NYSE: PRTY) FY22 Q2 earnings beat, the company announced its hiring of 20,000 additional workers, anticipating a busy Halloween in 2022. Bloomberg Second Measure’s consumer transaction data shows that Party City Holdco Inc.’s U.S. sales increased year-over-year in October 2021, but are yet to reach pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, we found that the average October sales per customer at Party City Holdco Inc increased during the pandemic.
The return of seasonal offerings like the pumpkin spice latte (or “PSL”)—which launched at Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) this year on August 30—coincided with a noticeable uptick in weekly U.S. sales for the coffee chain. Looking at Starbucks’ sales volume during fall menu launches over the past four years, U.S. weekly sales were also highest during the launch in 2022.
Earlier this year, Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) reiterated its plan to more than double its retail footprint in the U.S. and Canada, with a special focus on increasing its drive-thru capabilities. During the pandemic, the fast casual chain experienced strong growth in its online sales—which are still elevated in 2022—as well as gradual recovery for its in-store sales after an initial dip in March 2020. Consumer transaction data also shows that Chipotle has the highest month-over-month customer retention rate among its fast casual competitors Moe’s Southwest Grill and Qdoba Mexican Eats.
Big-box stores Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) and Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT)—which both recently reported their quarterly earnings—have faced excess inventory challenges over the last few months, slashing prices even as inflation has soared to new heights. Our credit and debit card transaction data reveals that in 2022, monthly average transaction values have generally increased year-over-year at Walmart Inc, but decreased slightly at Target. Additionally, our analysis shows that the share of online sales at both retailers is still elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels.
In July 2022, the grocery industry reportedly experienced the biggest year-over-year price hikes since the 1970s, affected by factors such as inflation and ongoing supply chain issues. So how has consumer spending at specific supermarket chains fared against this backdrop? Using consumer transaction data, we analyzed how U.S. consumer spending at major grocery store companies—including Ahold Delhaize; Albertsons Companies, Inc (NYSE: ACI); Aldi; H-E-B; The Kroger Company (NYSE: KR); Publix; and Trader Joe’s—changed between July 2021 and July 2022.
As inflation continues to rise, many consumers are reportedly turning to discount stores for household essentials. Our competitive analysis of major discount retailers—including Five Below (NASDAQ: FIVE), Dollar General (NYSE: DG), Dollar Tree, Inc (NASDAQ: DLTR), and 99 Cents Only Stores—found that Five Below had the highest average transaction value, but Dollar General had the highest quarterly transactions per customer and quarter-over-quarter customer retention in the second quarter of 2022.
Gap Inc (NYSE: GPS) recently saw its CEO step down amidst weakening sales and supply chain issues. However, our consumer transaction data shows that while some brands within Gap Inc’s portfolio—Old Navy and its namesake brand Gap—saw their U.S. sales decline year-over-year in Q2 2022, other brands like Athleta, Banana Republic, and Banana Republic Factory experienced positive growth. Our analysis shows that in addition to year-over-year sales growth, these three brands experienced increases in average quarterly sales per customer compared to before the pandemic.
With summer blockbusters attracting moviegoers back to the box office, consumer transaction data reveals that U.S. sales for AMC Entertainment Holdings (NYSE: AMC) in June 2022 tripled compared to the same month last year. Our analysis further shows that the movie theater chain’s sales and average monthly sales per customer are higher than they were prior to the pandemic.