Citi Trends on the Rise

Citi Trends is a rising star in the off-price retail sector and has big plans for expansion and remodeling. We dove into the foot traffic data to analyze Citi Trends’ visit growth and see how the chain stacks up against other top retailers in the off-price space.

Citi Trends vs. Off-Price Competition 

Citi Trends owes much of its success to an aggressive expansion and remodeling strategy. According to CEO David Makuen, the remodels – dubbed CTx – highlight curated product assortments and enhance the customer experience. In 2021 the chain opened 27 new stores and remodeled 25 others. And in 2022, Citi Trends plans for approximately 15 new stores and 50 remodels

To assess how this strategy is impacting foot traffic, we compared the monthly visit growth of Citi Trends and other off-price retail chains to a January 2021 visit baseline. Between January 2021 and August 2022 – including a rebound from the Omicron wave in January 2022 – Citi Trends’ monthly visits have grown 71.1%, surpassing the 33.8% growth of the other off-price chains. It’s likely that new strategy contributed to the chain’s ability to bounce back and outpace competitors’ foot traffic. 

A Strong 2021, an Even Stronger 2022

Citi Trends’ impressive foot traffic in 2021 makes the positive year-over-year (YoY) comparison all the more noteworthy. Since April 2022 the chain has maintained positive monthly YoY foot traffic with growth of 6.5% in August. 

The company attributes at least part of this success to a “compelling shopping experience” in-store, but Citi Trends’ ability to win over local shoppers and cultivate loyalty is likely contributing growth. According to the company, 70% of stores are the primary apparel and home goods destination for its customers, with 50% living within three miles of the store.

The chain’s YoY foot traffic is particularly significant when considering the prevailing economic pressures in 2022. According to Citi Trends, 50% of its customers have an annual household income of $25K or less, and their discretionary spending has been most affected by the current financial climate. Yet Citi Trends’ customers continue to find value at the chain during this period of economic headwinds, and the company has posted positive YoY monthly foot traffic trends since April 2022. 

Fleet and Visit Growth

Citi Trends’ positive visit growth is also due to its three-year store growth and remodeling plan which kicked off in late 2019. The chain reports that its current CTx stores are doing better than stores in previous remodel campaigns and plans to remodel another 50 stores by the end of next year.

Year-over-three-year (Yo3Y) data shows positive monthly foot traffic since March 2022. Citi Trends experienced a back-to-school boost in August as Yo3Y visits per venue grew by 11.5%, the largest Yo3Y increase of the past six months, and overall visits grew by 16.9%. 

Given the increase in the number of Citi Trends locations, monthly visits per venue paints a striking picture of foot traffic growth. The fact that the brand grew its fleet and continued to attract more customers to each store is a very positive sign for Citi Trends. 

Crossing the T’s, Dotting the I’s

Citi Trends boasts impressive YoY and Yo3Y foot traffic growth, positioning itself ahead of the off-price retail pack. The chain’s success is due in large part to store growth, effective remodels, and the ability to attract consumers in challenging economic times. 

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