There are few sectors as central to the retail experience as grocery chains, and the wider space experienced a unique form of upheaval because of the pandemic. We dove into June data to get a sense of the pace of recovery, and which brands are well-positioned for the months to come.
Spoiler – we also dug into early July.
Monthly Data – Recovery
Overall, the group of ten grocers analyzed saw monthly visits down 7.1% year over year on average in the month of June. This was a significant step forward from May when visits were down 11.6% and a dramatic improvement over April when visits were down 22.2% overall.
Albertsons and Lidl led the way with year-over-year growth of 5.4% and 7.5% respectively in June, though Lidl’s pace was actually down on the month prior. But the positive movement was being felt around the sector with Kroger, Publix, Safeway, H-E-B, and Aldi all moving within striking distance of 2019 numbers.
Even Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods – two brands that had been incredibly hard hit – bounced back stronger in June with Trader Joe’s June 2020 visits pulling within 12.3% of the same month in 2019.
The Pace of Change
And perhaps even more important than the change overall was the pace, which saw improvements throughout the month. Apart from the week of June 29th – which was heavily hit by steep visit declines for brands closed on the July 4th holiday – most brands were seeing either mixed or positively trending results.
And all this was fully appreciating July 3rd – the day before Independence Day – which drove surges throughout the sector. On that day visits for Publix spiked, driving year-over-year growth of 52.3%, with visits on July 4th up 19.6% year over year.
The same pattern held true for Wegmans which saw a 39.9% year-over-year jump in visits on Friday, July 3rd as visitors looked to stock up for the holiday celebration.
Kroger also benefited from the combination of pre-holiday rush and weekend, seeing a 49.6% year-over-year increase, with visits on the 4th also up 15.0%.
Where Are We Going?
Simply put, things are looking good in grocery. The brands that performed best during the pandemic are continuing to succeed, those who had strong relative numbers are moving closer to normal, and even the companies that were hardest hit are showing signs of life.
Can the pace continue? Will some of the pandemic outperformers revert back when pre-pandemic trends return? Find out all this and more at Placer.ai.