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How Did Key Retail Categories Perform in Q1 2023?

Shira Petrack
April 18, 2023
How Did Key Retail Categories Perform in Q1 2023?

Our latest Quarterly Index analyzed visit metrics for six key retail and retail services categories, including Fitness, Discount & Dollar Stores, Dining, Malls, Superstores, and Grocery Stores. Below is a taste of our findings. 

Download the full report here. Q1 2023 Quarterly Index

Following a strong January – driven at least partially by the comparison to an Omicron impacted 2022 – retail traffic slowed somewhat as consumers continued adjusting their spending habits to inflationary prices. Overall retail visits fell 4.2% year-over-year (YoY), and some of the pandemic's strongest categories – including Grocery and Superstores – also saw visit dips. And while some of the traffic decrease is due to the success – and the unique behaviors – these sectors last year, the drops also signal that 2023's retail landscape is going to look different from what we've seen in recent years. 

Still, despite the challenges, some categories continued to impress. Fitness continued its remarkable run, with YoY traffic growth of 18.7%. Discount & Dollar Stores also exceeded 2022 levels – a noteworthy feat given their strength over the past couple of years. Finally, Dining marked a 2.2% YoY visit increase, indicating that the category's recovery is still ongoing. 

Key Takeaways from the Q1 2023 Quarterly Index 

  1. Q1 2023 visits to Discount & Dollar Stores remained ahead of 2022 levels, but traffic growth was not as marked as it has been in previous years, indicating that the sector’s massive fleet expansions have slowed down. At the same time, the fact that visits remain steady in a difficult retail environment highlights the sector’s ongoing appeal.
  2. The remarkable strength of the offline Fitness sector continued in Q1 2023, with YoY visits up by double digits every week of the quarter – and the category’s success is driving visit growth at all analyzed Fitness chains. 
  3. Visits to Superstores took a YoY dip in Q1 2023 as consumers consolidated trips and tightened budgets. Still, Walmart remains the Superstore visit leader, and Target continued seeing visit growth – indicating while some things may be changing, other aspects of the Superstore landscape remain the same.
  4. Visits to the Grocery sector have normalized following their pandemic highs, with the increase in food prices likely impacting traffic growth. But visits to some smaller chains increased in Q1, indicating that despite the economic headwinds, there is still room for growth in the Grocery space. 
  5. Overall Dining visits were up YoY, but visit gaps opened up towards the end of the quarter, so the current economic headwinds are likely hampering the category’s recovery. Still, several Dining leaders across various sub-sectors saw visit growth, which could mean that consumers are taking fewer risks with their Dining spend and favoring familiar brands.  
  6. Mall traffic fell YoY for the three shopping center categories analyzed, but median dwell time increased, which could mean that consumers are taking fewer trips to malls but making more out of each visit. 

Read the full Q1 2023 Quarterly Index Report here

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