Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Off-Price: Who Could Outperform?

Jocelyn Bauer
May 7, 2020
Off-Price: Who Could Outperform?

One sector that could be very well positioned for a coronavirus comeback is the Off-Price retail space. Although the current situation puts these retailers in a compromising position, if pre-corona performance is any indication as to how these retailers will bounce back after the economy re-opens, these brands can quite possibly come out the other side with a positive outlook. 

Even more, the wider expectation of a focus on value, especially in a non-essential space like apparel, can be hugely important in a period likely to be defined by an economic downturn.

Pre-Corona Performance

Retailers like T.J Maxx, Marshall’s, Dillard’s and Ross Dress for Less have continued to outperform in the apparel sector throughout 2019 and this trend showed no indication of slowing down.  When we look at year-over-year growth for each of these retailers from the period of August 2019 to February 2020, the results are strong. All but December -  a month marked by fewer business days than the year before - yielded growth for at least 2 of the 4 brands analyzed, with Ross leading the way in almost every month.  Dillard’s also showed promise, with growth in every month except December and January.  And even those that had mixed results in late 2019, saw an exceptionally strong start to 2020.

But, the most intriguing narrative we see when analyzing year-over-year traffic for these brands is the significant growth in February 2020, the month whose end heralded the beginning of the Coronavirus impact in the US. The first two months of 2020 generated positive growth for almost every brand.  Each retailer saw monthly growth of at least 5.5% year over year with Ross leading the group with 17.7% growth.

Ross, Marshall’s, and T.J Maxx all saw traffic that was both steady, and above the baseline average for the period for nearly every month. But, due to closures at the beginning of March, all of the brands analyzed saw at least a 50.0% decrease in year-over-year growth for that month. 

With such significant year-over-year growth, it seems these retailers were gearing up for a pretty successful 2020 before coronavirus hit the states. 

Ross Dressing for Success 

But, if we look at Ross individually we see the most promising performance out of all brands analyzed. When looking at the first week of March, visits for the brand were 6.1% above the weekly average, a near 7% increase year over year for the equivalent week. And this while the COVID-19 effect was already being felt. Essentially, the brand was enjoying growth right up until stores began to close nationwide.

Another promising brand in the off-price sector is T.J Maxx. Alongside Ross, the retailer saw steady traffic c during the measured period, followed by a nice bump during the holiday season. Then early 2020 brought January and Feburary visits that saw strong growth for monthly traffic year over year. Moving into March, visits for the first week were 1.9% below the baseline average, compared to 1.1% below the previous year. This is only a 0.8% year-over-year traffic decrease, an impressive feat considering the apparel sector was already feeling the coronavirus impact by this point.

Off-Price Loyalty 

When it comes to customer loyalty, the number of visits per customer for a certain period of time can indicate a stronger relationship with the brand and its long term potential. And, Ross again is the front runner.  When looking at the period from August 2019 to February 2020, the retailer saw 3.0 visits per customer during this time span. But, the others weren’t far behind. T.J Maxx saw 2.8 visits per visitor, while Marshall’s saw 2.6 and Dillard’s saw 2.1 - a strong testament to the ability of top players in the sector to drive sustained success.

The cast that only a 0.2 visit difference separates Ross and T.J Maxx, speaks to a clear competition between the off-price retailers when it comes to loyalty. And, although Ross beats out all other brands in growth, this leaves the door open for another player to make a move. Now, with a range of brands like JC Penney expected to close if not shrink their physical footprint, an opportunity exists for these brands to grab new audiences and visits.


Overall, the off-price sector has a unique opportunity on its hands. Given the economic state in the US, with high-end retailers already slashing prices and selling off inventory, these retailers are positioned well to provide added value. And, the uncertainty about the economy and possible recession, is pushing people to shift their typical shopping trends to buy off-price. 

With an influx of excess inventory sitting at stores, retailers like Ross and T.J Maxx are hoping to scoop up the inventory and eventually turn that into bargains for their loyal shoppers.   

With the proper strategies in place, the off-price sector might be the one to watch during the inevitable re-opening of the economy. 

Check back in with the blog for more 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