Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Grocery Update - May Recovery?

Ethan Chernofsky
June 11, 2020
Grocery Update - May Recovery?

The grocery sector has been among the most interesting to analyze during the pandemic. During the crisis, some brands grew, while others struggled. And even when looking at the visits that did happen, consumer shopping patterns changed significantly.

So as the US begins to reopen, how has the grocery sector been affected?

Grocery’s Pandemic Trend

Looking at twelve top grocers from across the country shows a fairly common trend impacting the sector, with a few exceptions. February grocery visits came in at fairly normal levels with a slight year-over-year boost. March continued the trend, though the full monthly lift was limited by state and company restrictions that began to come in during the middle of the month. Then visits dropped off significantly into April, as restrictions came into full force over a longer period of time. Across the twelve brands analyzed, April saw an average decline of 19.7% in visitors year over year.

While the rebound was already beginning to unfold in late April, the recovery certainly found a new pace in May. The average visit decline across the same brands was down just 10.1% year over year, even though many were still seeing significant in-store restrictions and state-level regulations.

Obviously, not all brands have felt the same impact. Albertsons and Lidl were already back to year-over-year growth in May, though the latter was heavily influenced by a significant expansion in locations. Brands like Publix, Kroger, H-E-B, and Aldi were inching closer to normal levels, while Trader Joe's and Whole Foods were still battling back from larger deficits.

The Recovery is in Full Swing

But the positive trend is being felt across the entire sector. Looking at changes in weekly visits year over year shows a clear shift back to ‘normal’ for every brand analyzed. This includes Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, two brands that have felt the impact more than others for a variety of reasons. The former saw the visit gap from 2019 shrink by nearly 10% since late April, while Trader Joe’s saw an improvement of nearly 16% during this same period.

What Do the Coming Months Hold?

The big questions that remain for the sector are far beyond the control of any of these brands - namely, how quickly will restrictions be removed and can a second surge of the pandemic be avoided. Publix, while benefiting from visit growth in Georgia, is being held back by a slower reopening process in Florida. But even with these challenges, the brand is driving growth. Publix saw a 7.4% increase in nationwide visits on Saturday, May 9th year- over year, though the Saturday before Memorial Day did seeee a decline of nearly 10% year of year.

And the same mixed bag held true for one of the strongest pandemic performers, Albertsons. Visits on Saturday, May 9th, were up 29.8% while the Saturday before Memorial Day was down 3.4%.

There are a myriad of reasons why this may be the case. From weather to a potential aversion by some parts of the population to major shopping days, the recovery will certainly not be predictable in its daily result. However, it’s critical to note the significant recovery that these brands are already experiencing. While recent events could hamper this growth, especially for city-oriented brands, the indications of recovery are very promising.

What’s Next?

If the last few months have taught us anything, it’s that there are no guarantees. A surge of cases could dramatically impact the recovery. On the other hand, the growing levels of normalcy and the desire to return to past routines could quickly help overcome lingering pandemic concerns. Additionally, there are brands that are still heavily limited by their geographic focus. As an increasing number of states remove restrictions, brands like Wegmans and Trader Joe’s could see a major uplift in visits while others that have benefitted from new trends could theoretically see short term declines.

How will the recovery continue to unfold in the grocery sector? Visit to find out.

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.
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
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023 Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish
White Paper Recap: October 2023
Coffee Giants Brewing Up Business
Popeyes and Burger King Lead the Way
Diving into Yum!
Looking Ahead to Black Friday 2023