Placer Bytes: Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy and Walgreens

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In this Placer Bytes, we dive into Bed Bath & Beyond’s current status, Best Buy’s reopening, and Walgreens’s positioning within the pharmacy market.

Look Out for Bed Bath & Beyond

At the start of 2020, we made our predictions for the year’s winners and our boldest was Bed Bath & Beyond. So, this might be confirmation bias, but when we saw how quickly its visits have been returning to normal, even with store closures being announced and fewer stores than a year prior due to the pandemic, the excitement in the air was palpable. Weekly visits for the brand were down just 22.0% year over year the week of June 15th, compared to being down 71.9% just a few weeks prior.

And visits were trending in the right direction on Saturdays, the most important day for the company’s offline visits. On Saturday, June 20th, visits were down just 15.3% year over year while shooting 38.2% above the daily baseline for the period from January 1st, 2019 through June 22nd, 2020, easily its best day since the pandemic. And with more stores opening, a leadership-oriented approach to innovation, and a wider sector that is outperforming, the success should only grow.

Best Buy Returns with a Bang

On June 15th, Best Buy reopened the doors of 800 stores around the country, and the world was clearly ready. Visits to Best Buy locations surged 97.8% week over week, sending year-over-year visits for the week of June 15th within just 17% of 2019 numbers. Impressively, 800 stores only amount to less than 80% of the retailer’s overall retail footprint, meaning visits were actually doing exceptionally well compared to the year prior.

Can the excitement of reopenings sustain? Potentially. Visits on Monday, the 22nd were 4.2% higher than the opening Monday and all of this growth took place without key locations and states being fully reopened. Let alone the fact that some key states were in the midst of a further increase in cases. 

The conclusion? Lots of reasons to be excited about Best Buy.

Walgreens and the Pharmacy Space

Leading brands of the wider pharmacy space kicked off the year with differing degrees of strength. Walgreens opened up with year-over-year growth of 3.5% and 2.6% in January and February respectively, something that CVS matched with 4.1% and 3.0% increases of its own. Yet, Rite Aid was falling behind with declines of 9.6% and 7.0% in those two months year over year, mainly resulting from large scale closures throughout the country.

Then the pandemic hit all parties with seemingly equal vigor dropping visits to a decline of over 30% year over year, before May brought signs of a recovery across the board.

And these brands do look to be recovering with strength. By the week of June 15th, weekly visits to Walgreens locations were up 3.4% year over year, while Rite Aid and CVS were down just 6.4% and 2.1% respectively. While geographic differences and predispositions to larger city-based fleets have an impact here, the overall trend is promising.

Will Bed Bath & Beyond drive a transformation? Can Best Buy’s strong re-opening sustain into the coming months? Will competition in the pharmacy sector heat up? Visit Placer.ai to find out.

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