Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Off-Price Apparel Foot Traffic on The Rise Again 

Bracha Arnold
August 16, 2022
Off-Price Apparel Foot Traffic on The Rise Again 

Off-price apparel was a pandemic winner, exhibiting remarkable imperviousness to some of the wider brick-and-mortar challenges. And now that the economic situation has shifted, off-price retailers remain an attractive option as consumers seek to refresh their wardrobes without breaking the bank.  

We took a look at the latest foot traffic data to understand how the combination of inflation, supply chain woes, and residual pandemic effects are continuing to drive visits to the sector. 

Return to Growth  

Off-price apparel was one of the only brick-and-mortar apparel sub-sectors to thrive during COVID, with visits to the category remaining close to or exceeding pre-pandemic levels ever since retail reopenings. 

Q1 2022 saw a unique confluence of post-holiday shopping fatigue as a result of a Delta and Omicron wave, poor weather, and the beginning stages of a spiraling inflation and fuel crisis; but the latest visit data shows off-price apparel is continuing to prove its remarkable resilience, with visits to Ross Dress For Less, Burlington, Marshalls, T.J.Maxx, and Citi Trends trending upward once again in Q2 2022.

Year-Over-Year Visits Normalize Following COVID Surge

While online apparel sales skyrocketed during COVID, off-price apparel brands – many of which choose not to operate e-commerce channels – saw their brick-and-mortar visits surge in 2021

But since March 2022, rising inflation and gas prices have slowed this growth significantly, as consumers cut out discretionary spending to focus on essentials such as food and medication. 

Another factor that may be driving fewer visits to these retailers may well be the growing role that Walmart and Target play in the clothing and home decor sectors. The two megastores anticipated that the high demand of late 2021 would continue in 2022 and brought more inventory than ever into their stores – but the economic shifts kept many consumers away. This led to both chains slashing prices in a bid to offload excess merchandise, creating direct competition to traditional off-price apparel retailers.  

One standout chain, however, saw its foot traffic increase in all but one of the months analyzed. Citi Trends, a Georgia-based off-price retailer, saw July 2022’s foot traffic overperforming year-over-year (YoY) by 2.8%, while other retailers such as Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx saw their foot traffic dip into the negative numbers, with 11.8% and 11.3% fewer visits than seen in July 2021, respectively. 

Comparisons to Pre-Pandemic Visits Reveal Categories True Strength

Since the YoY dips are in the context of particularly high 2021 visit levels, focusing on YoY trends fails to show just how much the category has grown since the pandemic. Analyzing year-over-three-year (Yo3Y) foot-traffic trends reveals that nearly all leading off-price players are now seeing elevated visit levels when compared to pre-pandemic. 

Citi Trends and Burlington have experienced the most consistent Yo3Y growth, seeing higher visits across all months analyzed. Burlington saw some of the strongest foot-traffic trends, likely due to its expanded store fleet – the company grew from 675 locations in 2019 to 873 in 2022. And Citi Trends saw its visits rise every month from March 2022.

And although the impact of inflation and tightening consumer budgets appears to have hit Ross, T.J. Maxx, and Marshalls a little harder, the visit gaps for all three brands had narrowed or disappeared by July 2022. As inflation began to slow and gas prices continued to come down, excess inventories started making their way to the off-price racks, and Back-to-School shopping kicked off. Ross and T.J. Maxx saw their July 2022 visits increase by 3.2% and 4.2%, respectively, while Marshalls lagged behind the other chains slightly, but narrowed its visit gap significantly, seeing only 1.6% fewer visits compared to three years ago. 

The latest July data shows how off-price is rallying in a time of economic uncertainty. With the Back-to-School season kicking into high gear and last season’s excess inventory continuing to make its way downstream to off-price retailers, the category is poised to return to growth in the second half of 2022.

For more data-driven insights,

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