Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Catching Up With Ulta Beauty & Gap Brands

Bracha Arnold
May 28, 2024
Catching Up With Ulta Beauty & Gap Brands

Discretionary retail has faced its fair share of headwinds over the past few years, from pandemic-related restrictions to inflation. And while prices have stabilized, subdued consumer confidence continues to weigh on non-essential segments. But even in this challenging environment, some companies, like Ulta Beauty, are continuing to see visit growth, while others, like Gap Inc. and its portfolio of apparel brands, are making a comeback. 

With Q2 2024 well underway, we take a look at the foot traffic patterns for these companies to see how they are faring. 

Key Takeaways

  • Ulta Beauty continues to see year-over-year (YoY) visit growth, outpacing the wider Beauty and Wellness segment.
  • Gap and Old Navy are seeing their visit gaps narrow, with some weekly and monthly visit growth – showing that Gap Inc.’s brand revitalization efforts may be starting to bear fruit.   

Ulta: The Beauty Powerhouse Sees YoY Visit Growth

In 2020, predicted that Ulta Beauty would be an unstoppable force in beauty retail – and the chain has impressed ever since. Over the past several years, Ulta has been on a consistent upward visit trajectory, propelled by strong demand for affordable luxuries (the so-called “Lipstick Effect”), and consumer interest in self-care

And though the pace of Ulta’s tremendous YoY visit growth has moderated somewhat in recent months, the beauty giant continues to thrive – drawing even more visitors in early 2024 than during the equivalent period of last year. Between January and April 2024, YoY visits to the beauty retailer remained consistently elevated, outperforming the wider Beauty & Wellness space.

Gap Brands: A Retail Revival

The fashion segment has experienced rising prices and persistent inflation over the past few years, leading to a new era of discount and thrift shopping. And iconic apparel retailers like Gap Inc – operator of Gap, Old Navy, Athleta, and Banana Republic – have not been immune to the challenges facing the category. 

But through a combination of high-profile hirings and revitalized branding efforts, Gap Inc. has been readying itself for a comeback. In Q4 2023, the retailer announced stronger-than-expected results, driven primarily by Gap and Old Navy. And recent foot traffic to the company’s largest brands provides further evidence that its turnaround efforts may be starting to bear fruit. 

During the all-important November and December shopping season last year, Gap and Old Navy saw YoY visits hold steady or increase, outpacing the wider Apparel space. In January 2024, visits to the two chains declined in the wake of an Arctic blast that kept many shoppers at home. But in February, Gap enjoyed a 0.7% YoY visit bump, while Old Navy saw just a mild drop – less than that of the overall Apparel category. In March 2024, both Gap and Old Navy enjoyed strong YoY visit growth, far outperforming overall Apparel – likely driven by sales events held by each brand. And though April saw YoY visits decline once again, with the two chains falling behind Apparel, drilling down into weekly data offers a different perspective.

Both Gap and Old Navy started off April with lackluster YoY performance, perhaps due in part to the comparison to an early April 2023 that included Easter weekend. But towards the end of April and beginning of May, Gap and Old Navy’s’ visit gaps narrowed – with some weeks seeing positive YoY visit growth, and with the two chains once again either nearly on par with, or outperforming, overall Apparel. 

Gap Inc. itself is bullish about what the next year holds in store, with big names like Zak Posen joining the Gap family in hopes of propelling the company forward. Though it may be premature to declare an end to the troubles that have plagued the clothier in recent years, early 2024 foot traffic provides further evidence that the company is heading in the right direction.

Final Thoughts

Ulta continues to experience visit growth, highlighting Beauty’s enduring appeal. Meanwhile, Gap and Old Navy are witnessing narrowed visit gaps and some weekly visit growth. 

Is the Apparel segment making a comeback? Can the Beauty segment sustain its positive momentum indefinitely?

Visit to keep up to date with the latest retail developments. 

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.
Digging Into Darden: Q2 2024 Update
2024 Retail and Dining Trends Update
TRU and avid: Midscale Hotels on the Rise 
Diving Into Kroger: A Strong Start to 2024 Mall Index: May 2024 Recap – Mall Visits on the Rebound Office Index: May 2024 Recap
2024 Memorial Day Recap
Las Vegas: A Tourism and Migration Deep Dive
Eatertainment Chains: Full on Food, Fun, and Foot Traffic
The Promise of Luxury Apparel
Catching Up With Ulta Beauty & Gap Brands
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Five Below: Q1 2024 Treasure Troves
CAVA Still Going Strong
Driving Success: Auto Parts Chains in 2024
Checking in With DICK’S Sporting Goods
Mother’s Day Shopping and Dining Trends Mall Index: April 2024 Recap – Retail Resilience Heading into Spring
Dollar Stores Still Gaining Momentum
Off-Price Apparel Chains After Q1 2024: Demographics in the Balance
Walmart, Target, and Wholesale Clubs Continue to Thrive
Home Improvement and Decor Check In Office Index: April 2024 Recap – Recovery Continues
Movie Theaters in Q1 2024: A Preview of Coming Attractions?
Let’s Get Physical: Fitness In 2024
Where Are Workers Returning to Office in 2024?
2024 Wins: Sweetgreen & First Watch on the Rise
A Full-Service Turnaround: Bloomin’, Dine, and Texas Roadhouse
Wendy’s and Denny’s: Breakfast and Late Night Dining Drives Success
Coffee Chains: Q1 2024 Update and What’s Changed Since COVID
Checking in with RBI and YUM!
Chipotle & McDonald's Serving Up Success
Wingstop & Shake Shack Continue Growing Their Reach 
Strong Start for Sprouts in 2024
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024? White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy Mall Index: February 2024 Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024:’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note