Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Department Store 2022 Summer Update

Ezra Carmel
August 17, 2022
Department Store 2022 Summer Update

With the most recent department store visit data, we dove into the impact of rightsizing measures and looked at the particularly strong foot traffic to higher-end chains to understand how the category is dealing with the current economic situation. 

Rightsizing Bears Fruit in July

Department stores had a rough start to the year due to the January Omicron wave. And although visits began picking up in February, March’s inflation and fuel price surge opened the year-over-three-year (Yo3Y) visit gaps again. Now, following a difficult May and June, the Yo3Y visit gaps began narrowing once more. And thanks to rightsizing – optimizing store fleet by closing, opening, or resizing stores – the visit per venue comparisons to 2019 are looking even better than the overall visit comparisons.

In 2020, Macy’s announced plans to shutter 125 stores in order to focus on small format stores, while continuing plans to diversify offerings to bring more value to each customer. Similarly, JCPenney announced the liquidation of 175 stores as part of its store optimization strategy. Dillard’s has undertaken more moderate steps at store fleet optimization and closed a few dozen stores between 2019 and 2022.

And while both overall visits and visits per venue numbers improved in July 2022 for all three chains analyzed, July’s visits per venue numbers were noticeably closer to pre-pandemic levels. Macy’s was the top performer in July with Yo3Y visits per venue down just 4.1%, improving from the 10.1% Yo3Y visit per venue visit gap seen in June. Dillard’s and JCPenney also narrowed their July Yo3Y visit per venue gap significantly to 15.9% and 12.6%, respectively. 

Kohl’s hasn’t decreased its number of locations, but it is also slated to join the rightsizing trend by opening smaller format stores in new markets. So, while store fleet expansion brought visits per venue numbers just below overall visit metrics, July was also a month of marked improvement for Kohl’s as Yo3Y visits rose from 22.7% down in June to 12.5% down in July. With plans for smaller format stores in the early stages of implementation, it’s likely that we haven't yet seen the full effect of Kohl’s optimization strategy. 

Luxury Rightsizing and Resilience of Affluent Shoppers 

It’s not just mid-range department stores finding success by rightsizing. Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus closed a number of locations during the pandemic, while Saks Fifth Avenue has found ways to rightsize its inventory and grow its online experiences. And this strategy is proving to be even more beneficial to the higher-priced end of the department store spectrum. 

Since March 2022, luxury department store brands are staying near to – or exceeding – pre-pandemic foot traffic levels, with Yo3Y visits per venue down 1.2% for Nordstrom and up 12.3% and 10.5% for Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, respectively. The relative success of these higher-end brands can be attributed to a customer base less affected by inflation that continues to visit these brands despite the wider economic climate.

If You Close It, They Will Come

All of the department stores we analyzed displayed growth in their True Trade Area (TTA) since 2019 – likely the result of rightsizing measures. TTA represents the distance 70% of a brand’s consumers travel, on average, to the brand’s locations, so growth in TTA means that customers are willing to travel farther distances to shop at their favorite store when one nearby closes. 

Kohl’s benefitted from a 2.6% growth in TTA since 2019 – a relatively stable number, likely because it hasn’t consolidated many locations over the past three years. The other chains analyzed grew their TTA since 2019 anywhere from 7.4% for Dillard’s to 28.9% for Neiman Marcus, indicating that store closures are an effective means of generating foot traffic to remaining stores from a wider area. 

But Saks Fifth Avenue, which has also kept its store fleet count relatively stable, posted a whopping 34.6% Yo3Y TTA growth thanks to a wider audience of aspirational shoppers finding comfort in high fashion since the pandemic. Saks’ success indicates that rightsizing is not a “one size fits all” solution – brands with an already optimized store fleet can focus on other strategies, such as location-based promotions, to drive customers to their brick-and-mortar venues. 

Positive Visit Data for Department Stores

Across the board, rightsizing has bolstered foot traffic for the department store category, with the luxury end of the category building on positive visit numbers in recent months. The top brands are finding ways to optimize their locations be it via store closures or other measures aimed at enhancing the customer experience.

For more data-driven retail insights, 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.
The CAVA Craze: A Location Intelligence Perspective on the Mediterranean Marvel
How Will Primark’s US Expansion Impact Target?
All Eyes on Eyewear
Northwestern U.S. Grocery Dive
Return of the Lunch: Salad Chains Are Thriving
Retail Media Networks – Off the Beaten Track
Bet Your Bottom Dollar: Discount and Dollar Stores Drive Foot Traffic
Ulta & Lululemon: Discretionary Spending On The Up
The Score After Q1: Sporting Goods Chains
Who Uses NYC Airports: Biting Into The Big Apple’s Main Transport Hubs
Off Price: Strength in The Face of Retail Challenges
Visits Improve for Home Improvement
Walmart, Target & Wholesalers in Q1 2023 – The Return of Mission-Driven Shopping?
Department Store Roundup: Q1 2023 Office Index: April 2023 Recap Mall Index, April 2023 – A Rebound on the Horizon?
How Will Bed Bath & Beyond’s Bankruptcy Impact the Retail Space?
Buffet Restaurants: Filling Up on Foot Traffic
Thrift Stores: Vintage Visits Drive New Age in Apparel
The Windy City: A Hub of Post-Pandemic Opportunity
Diving into Dining Traffic - Q1 2023
Bring On The Joe
A Dollar (or more) For Your Thoughts: Five Below and pOpshelf
Dining Out With The Cheesecake Factory
Retail Foot Traffic Recap – March 2023
Digging Into 2023: McDonald’s and Chipotle Update Office Index: March 2023 Recap
How Did Key Retail Categories Perform in Q1 2023?
Northeastern USA Grocery Dive
Movie Theaters Storylines for 2023
Ollie's Bargain Outlet: Discounters are Evolving
Leveraging Brick-and-Mortar Retail in 2023
America’s Evolving Work Patterns: A Deep-Dive into New York and Chicago Mall Index March 2023
Tuning Into Record Stores
Five Franchises To Watch in 2023
What’s Next For Domestic Tourism?
It’s Showtime! Movie Theaters in the Spotlight
5 Limited Time Offers (LTOs) Driving Restaurant Traffic
Department Store Deep-Dive: Belk
Regional Grocery Chains Staying Ahead of the Competition
Five Chains that Rightsized for Success
Unlocking the Potential of Offline Retail Media Networks
Dining Out With Darden
What’s in Store for Self-Storage?
Nike & lululemon Update: Strong Performance Amid Expansion Plans
Many Ways to Win: Midwest Grocery Deep Dive
Retail, Reinvented: The Rise of the Pop-Up Shop
Navigating a New Normal in Business Travel & Commutes Office Index: February 2023 Recap
Retail Categories Staying Strong in Volatile Environment
Ulta Beauty: Poised for Success into 2023 Mall Index February 2023: Reasons for Continued Optimism
Catching Up With DICK’s & Hibbett
The Miami-Dade Arena: An Advertising Slam Dunk
Car Washes Revving Up Visits
Tuesday Morning and Sunrises in Home Furnishing
Dining & Valentine’s Day Recap
2023: The Year of the Discount Store
Aldi’s Success Highlights Growing Demand for Value Groceries
5 Retail & Service Categories Holding onto Pandemic Gains in 2023
Visitor Insights from Super Bowl 2023
2023 First Look: Home Improvement Update
How Are Target, Walmart, and Wholesale Clubs Faring in 2023?
Department Store Deep-Dive: Nordstrom
Off-Price: Taking Off in Uncertain Times
Checking in On Middle-Class Hubs
Who Attends the Super Bowl? Office Index: January 2023 Recap
Focusing On Fitness: Q4 and January Recap Mall Index: January 2023 – Returning Mall Normalcy?
Location Intelligence Insights Into Concert Attendance
Winning Dining Strategies for 2023
In-N-Out Burger: What to Expect as the Brand Moves East
Location Intelligence Breakdown: Coffee Caps-Off 2022
Digitally Native Brands Lean Into Brick & Mortar
Washington, D.C. Population Changes & Migration 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