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Placer Bites: Dicks, Best Buy, and Old Navy

Ethan Chernofsky
November 25, 2019
Placer Bites: Dicks, Best Buy, and Old Navy

This week, we’re analyzing two of the most interesting retailers - Best Buy and Dick’s Sporting Goods - and taking a look at Old Navy ahead of their ‘will they, won’t they’ spinoff.

Growing Visits for Dick’s Sporting Goods

When looking at Dick’s traffic in 2019, we can already see a 4.5% increase in traffic in the first 10 months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. When comparing this number to the first 10 months of 2017 we see an even larger 11.1% traffic increase to locations in the US. All signs that show the increasing strength of the brand.

Looking at baseline change from the period starting in January 2017 shows a company that has seen Year-over-Year growth each month from May through October 2019. This reached a new peak for the period in August 2019 where visits rose 52.7% above the baseline, surpassing even December 2017’s jump to 51.9% for the best month of the measured period.

The strong growth validates several decisions made of late. Obviously, the decision to remove guns from stores was seen as risky,  but the choice has not had a visible, negative impact. More recent pushes to widen apparel choices for women also validate a clear to move to become an all-seasons retailer. If Dick’s can continue the momentum while driving forward these changes, the results could be impressive.

The Best Buy?

Best Buy is simply a difficult brand to get a handle on. The chain is closing a large number of stores and placing an added emphasis on optimizing their locations. This strategy makes tremendous sense considering the omnichannel focus the brand is taking. Yet, at some point, one would expect the drops in in-store visits will need to balance and return to more stable levels.

And there are indications that this point may be on the way. Visits in August 2019 were 7.7% above the baseline for the period from July 2017 through October 2019, which is above the 4.3% rise in August 2017 or the 0.3% decrease in 2018. This is a very positive sign as most other months have seen an overall decrease Year-over-Year. If Best Buy is close to seeing greater stability or even growth in visits, the impact could be huge alongside their ‘Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store’ and eCommerce focus.

Old Navy Returning to Port?

Old Navy went from retail darling worthy of sustaining its own brand to potentially needing to remain under Gap in order to make it through a difficult period. Yet, the data itself from Gap’s fiscal Q3 (August through October) presents an interesting twist.

Visits to Old Navy branches nationwide were up 1.5% year over year on Q3 2018. Yet, the key factor here may be the significance of August and the steep declines in September and October. Taking the period from July 2017 through October 2019 shows that September and October visits were 19.4% and 15.0% below the baseline in 2019, below the 10.2% and 12.3% drops in 2018. This places a huge emphasis on the ability to convert visitors into buyers and may help identify where the issues may lie with Old Navy. The brand still clearly possesses the cache necessary to drive visits in the Off-Price sector, but increased competition may demand the brand upgrade the product on offer, or the in-store experience.

With the critical holiday season just around the corner, how will these brands perform? Visit to find out.

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