Placer Bytes: Best Buy, CVS and Modell’s

The Best Buy?

Best Buy is an interesting case. The retailer is closing stores, but much of this is part of a strategic effort to improve its overall business with a more streamlined omni-channel approach

And the impact creates an interesting challenge to measure. Visits in November and December 2019, and January 2020 were down year-over-year compared to the same months in 2018/19. But much of this was related to closed stores and an increased push to online channels.

Digging deeper presents a picture that is more mixed than one of pure decline. Black Friday visits were up 645.8% above the baseline for the period from January 2017 through January 2020, up from 562.2% in 2018. This is a strong testament to the brand’s continued ability to draw visits during key times of focus and attention. Yet, while the period in the build-up to Christmas was strong in 2019, it didn’t match the impressive peaks of 2018 when the Saturday before Christmas rose 271.5% above the baseline compared to 228.9% in 2019. 

However, the most interesting factor that comes from looking back at the annual breakdown over more than three years is the lack of a secondary peak period. Pre-Father’s Day visits provide a consistent annual bump, but apart from that, there are few other consistent visit drivers. 

From an opportunity perspective, this means that not only could Best Buy’s omni-channel focus win the day, but it still possesses ample room to grow its pure offline business as well. Should the brand find more days to create urgency for in-store purchases, the result could provide an incredibly potent resource for greater offline sales.

CVS Continues to Roll

CVS enjoyed a strong start to 2020 on the back of a strong finish to 2019. Visits in December 2019 were 15.3% above the baseline for the period between January 2017 and January 2020, surpassing December 2018 visits that were 10.7% above. The strong December was sandwiched by a November and January that both saw in-store visits surpass the levels set the year prior as well, with January 2020 bringing in visits 1.6% above the baseline, compared to 0.2% above in January 2019. 

CVS, one of our picks for the top retailers of 2020, kicked off the year looking poised to fulfill on this promise.

Modell’s Primed for a Rebound?

CEO Mitchell Modell chose to invest money in his business as opposed to buying an apartment in Florida, and that may have been a very good decision. While Modell’s may be facing a difficult situation, there are strong indications that Modell’s instinct is on point – there is still a significant role for offline retailers like Modell’s in the world of sporting goods. 

2019 Q4 visits were all up on the same month in 2018, and 2020 kicked off with a January that brought in visits that were 0.7% below the baseline for the period from January 2017 through January 2020, vastly superior to visits that were 26.6% below in 2019. This positive momentum could be critical to Modell’s turnaround, but actually maximizing these visitor peaks will go a long way to proving the brand can take advantage of the opportunity.

Can Best Buy find a complement to its winter strength? Will CVS continue its impressive performance? Is Modell’s already seeing signs of a resurgence? Visit Placer.ai to find out.

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