Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

2020 Winners: Early, Bold Predictions

Ethan Chernofsky
January 7, 2020
2020 Winners: Early, Bold Predictions

The year may have just begun, but it’s certainly never too early to make a bold prediction about the year to come. With that in mind, we’ve decided to break down some of the retail winners we’ll be talking about next December as the dominant players of the year.


We get it, it’s an obvious pick.  Target is coming off a very strong year including year-over-year growth from April through August with huge traffic jumps throughout the summer. But, the reason for inclusion here goes beyond past performance.

Target isn’t just crushing, it is defining a segment with potential for ongoing success. Moves to include higher-priced offerings, like Disney or Toys-R-Us locations on-site, speak to a move upmarket. And this is validated by the data. Target sees nearly 25% of its audience with a household income of over $100,000, significantly more than Walmart. Decisions to launch multi-format stores and locations in major cities like a new NYC flagship also support this focus on higher-income areas. These strategies indicate that coming off an exceptional year, Target might have even more growth in its sights.


Chipotle has managed to slowly recover from its past traumas, climbing its way back up year-over-year with 2019 marking a very strong year. Other than a few holiday week dips and a characteristically slow fall season, the chain has managed to maintain positive baseline growth throughout the year. Looking at the period from November 2017 to November 2019, Chipotle’s highest peak the last week of April was 17% above baseline, compared to just 2% above baseline that week the previous year. Its lowest-performing week during this period was only 4.5% below baseline, compared to 9.7% below baseline in 2018. And with continuous menu innovation and improved restaurant design Chipotle is certainly on the right track to continue its rebound into 2020. 


The year will go down in history as the year of the #ChickenWars, with Chick-fil-A at the front lines, though Popeyes did take the crown in that head to head. Yet, this battle and being closed on Sundays didn’t stop Chick-fil-A from producing incredibly strong 2019 results. Looking at the period of November 2017 to November 2019, Chick-fil-A’s peak week actually came before the onset of the wars. The second week of July shows visits of 26.8% above baseline, compared to a 5.7% the previous year. 

Despite Popeyes coming in hot, and McDonalds trying to join in on the chicken hype, Chick-fil-A experienced steady growth - even with a smaller overall footprint. This indicates the social media hype only strengthened the chain’s customer loyalty, as visit volume not only increased but was significantly higher than rival Popeyes’. Chick-fil-A’s ability to sustain growth outside of the social-media-induced peaks surely sets the restaurant up for success in the upcoming year. 

Bed Bath & Beyond

Yup, this one certainly falls into the bold prediction category. Every month in 2019, apart from a stellar August, has drawn fewer visits than the same month in 2018. So why include them? Because the strategic direction seems to be completely dead on. The company recently hired ex-Target executive Mark Tritton as CEO and is rumored to be aiming to bring on former Target CFO Cathy Smith as well. Target is a perfect North Star for Bed Bath & Beyond for several reasons.

Both brands are increasingly tilting upmarket with a huge opportunity for growth among a higher-income audience. And Bed Bath & Beyond sees more of its audience with an average household income of above $100,000 than Target. And this is where replicating some of Target’s strategies makes so much sense. 

Target has focused heavily on optimizing their store formats and stock for specific locations. Why? Because doing so allows them to maximize space efficiency, a critical factor for entering areas with high real estate costs. But it also puts a heavier emphasis on aligning stock with the audience, enabling stores to perform better in each location. 


It’s no surprise that CVS lands on this list, with its heavy ramp-up of in-store initiatives in the last year. CVS began testing its new HealthHUBs at three different locations in Houston, TX and with such positive market response, decided to increase the total amount of HealthHUBs across the country to 1,500 by the end of 2021. 

Since the launch in February 2019, the pilot locations continue to perform well.  Despite a dip in June, overall visits are trending upward and the 40-minute average duration of customer visits continues to beat the national average. 

With the addition of its HealthHUBs, CVS has positioned itself well amongst its competitors as the leading one-stop-shop pharmacy.  In an era where e-commerce and digital initiatives are on the rise, it’s important for brands to know how to interact with consumers and create a personal in-store environment, and that’s exactly what CVS plans to do in 2020. 


Ulta Beauty has continued to surprise with its ever-evolving offline and digital marketing strategies. And 2019 was no different, as Ulta committed itself to enhancing the overall consumer experience by offering more personalized in-store experiences. It’s set to finish the year, as one of the top-performing retail stocks of the decade. But, with such a strong performance over the last 10 years, will Ulta be able to reign supreme as the top beauty brand in 2020? 

Its new strategies seem to be paying off, as the beauty chain saw a 300% spike in traffic above the baseline average for Black Friday in 2019 - a 9% increase from the previous year.  When we analyze month-to-month data between November 1st, 2018 and November 30th 2019, each month, May through August, saw an overall increase in visits. 

With Ulta’s high-end remodels, shiny new loyalty program and its comprehensive in-store beauty bar, customers are finding reasons to stick around, as they are spending, on average, 43 minutes during their visits. 

As Ulta separates itself from its competitors and focuses on driving offline traffic and offering unparalleled in-store experiences, it will be on pace to keep its title as the leading beauty brand in 2020. 

Honorable Mention: Wegmans, Publix, TJ Maxx, Popeyes, Nike

Looking forward to checking in next year to see how our picks performed! Want to join the conversation? Visit

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Digitally Native Brands Lean Into Brick & Mortar
Washington, D.C. Population Changes & Trends
A Location Intelligence Perspective on Macy’s Rightsizing
Amazon-Powered Shopping: The Future of Brick-and-Mortar Grocery?
Cold Weather, Hot Visits: Diving into Winter Resorts
Wawa and 7-Eleven: Leaning Into the “Slurpee Effect”
2022 and Beyond: Catching Up With McDonald’s & Chipotle
Let’s Have Some Fun! Going Out Is In’s Q4 2022 Quarterly Index Adds Industry Executives to Leadership Team To Drive Company's Next Phase of Growth
5 Emerging Retail Formats: 2023’s Brick-and-Mortar Evolution
Grocery Update: Zooming in on the Lone Star State
2022 Office Recap: The Year of the TGIF Work Week
What Lies Ahead for Brick-and-Mortar Luxury in 2023 Mall Indexes: December 2022 Recap
Looking Back on 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
Post-Pandemic Migration Trends in New York
Top Retailers for 2023
The Live Sports Advertising Opportunity
Domestic Migration to the Mountain States: Small Shifts with Big Implications
New Year, New Food: 5 Dining Trends For 2023
This is Why Shop-in-Shops Are Everywhere
Super Saturday 2022 Recap
The San Francisco Shift
Grocery Year-End Update: Publix in the Spotlight
Three Ways Retailers Can Think Small to Increase Store Impact
Offline Beauty Is on an Upswing
The Evolving Migration Patterns of New York’s Florida Snowbirds Office Index: November 2022 Recap
How Viral Social Media Trends Can Drive Offline Engagement
Are You Ready for Some Football? Experiential Marketing Shows Promise
Mall and Shopping Center Trends For 2023
Retail Corridors and Indoor Malls: A Holiday Head-to-Head
Placer Bytes: Nike, lululemon, and GameStop Update Mall Indexes: November 2022 Update
Black Friday 2022: Consumers Hear the Call
Digitally Native Brands: Taking Off, Offline
Discount and Dollar Stores Leading the Pack
Turkey Wednesday 2022
Retail’s Evolving Holiday Season
Placer Bytes: Starbucks and Department Stores Ahead of Black Friday
Ulta: A Force to be Reckoned With
College Towns Drive Dining Growth
Foot Traffic Trends Reveal Consumers Ready for Holiday Cheer
How Retailers Can Win Big By Going Small
How Are Consumers Feeling Ahead of Black Friday 2022?
Off-Price, Hibbett, and Dick’s Pre-Holiday Check-in
Ho, Ho, Wholesale: Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s
October 2022’s Retail Rebound
Target and Walmart Ahead of the Holidays
Home Improvement: Leave it to the Pros
Despite Inflation, Holiday Season is Off to a Good Start Office Index: October 2022 Recap Mall Indexes- October 2022 Update
Americans Double Down on Fitness
The State of Grocery
CVS and Walgreens: The Wave Continues
Coffee Chains Brewing Up Visits Spotlight: Pizza Players
What Drove COVID-Era Urban Migration Trends?
Kroger and Albertsons: A Merging of Strengths
Texas Roadhouse Innovations Dishing Up Success
Holidays on the Horizon: Mid-Range and Luxury Shopping
McDonald's and Chipotle's Post-Pandemic Success
Announcing’s Q3 2022 Quarterly Index
5 Hot Restaurant Brands for 2023
Target Finds a Winning Deals Day Formula
Five Trends to Watch for 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
September 2022 Analysis: A Difficult Month and Time for Optimism
Inflation’s Retail Winners
Five Apparel Retailers to Watch Ahead of the Holidays Spotlight: Wawa’s QSR Pivot Mall Indexes: September 2022 Recap Office Indexes: September 2022 Recap
The Impact of Population Growth on Commercial Real Estate 
Starbucks' New Makeover
There's Somethin' About Pumpkin
Expanding Offline Reach
Breakfast Restaurants are Rising in Popularity
The Power of Labor Day 2022
Tourism in Miami Heating Up
Citi Trends on the Rise
Reaching Rural Consumers Through Retail Media Network
Darden Restaurants Cooking Up Success
The Home Improvement Sector: A Sign of Consumer Confidence
QSR Is Having a Northeastern Growth Spurt
Domestic Migration’s Ripple Effects
A Look Back at Back To School 2022
Kroger Digital Tell-All
The Return of In-Person Networking
The Reinvention of the American Mall Office Building Indexes: August 2022 Recap Mall Indexes - August 2022 Recap
Five Below’s Back to School Success
Plus-Size Fashion’s Staying Power
Placer Bytes: Best Buy & GameStop 
Petco Barking Up the Right Tree
Lipstick Effect Boosts Ulta’s Growth 
Placer Bytes: DICK's Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports