Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Placer Bytes: Burlington & Corona Big Box

Ethan Chernofsky
March 17, 2020
Placer Bytes: Burlington & Corona Big Box

Big Box Retail Weathering the Storm

When discussing the impact of the Coronavirus on wider economic trends, the focus will likely center around hard-hit sectors like travel. But there are also areas of economic resilience, at least in the early days.

Walmart, a company that has managed to outperform in a very difficult period, is among those whose full strength may be on display. In a period where so many retailers are concerned or actively struggling, Walmart is seeing steady ongoing visits. Looking at the period from February 2018 through February 2020, visits for Walmart in February 2020 were 8.0% below the monthly baseline, a significant jump compared to 2019 when visits were 12.9% below. 

And this trend is holding up in the face of Coronavirus concerns. Visits the last two days of February were 7.1% and 36.1% above the baseline for Friday, February 28th and Saturday, February 29th, 2020. This is aligned directly with equivalent numbers from 2019 when the same Friday and Saturday were 7.1% and 32.6% above the baseline for daily visits during the period.

Essentially, Walmart visitors are still going, even where a drop might have been expected and understood.

And the same seems to be holding true for a company that has not seen the same market support. Target visits in February 2020 were 7.3% below the monthly baseline for the period, significantly better than February 2019 when visits were 15.2% below. 

But here, the pace is showing major year over year increases. Visits to Target on the last Friday and Saturday of February were 8.2% and 61.5% above the daily baseline for the period. This shows a massive jump from the equivalent Friday and Saturday in 2019 when visits were 2.6% below the baseline and 42.2% above respectively.

The increase is an indication of Target’s continued climb into a unique retail stratosphere. The brand succeeds consistently, even in the face of difficult periods, because of a powerful customer relationship. 

Could the wider effect of the virus still damage Target or Walmart? Of course. But are both putting their strong brand affinity on display? Absolutely.

Burlington Chooses Offline Over Online

In their quarterly earnings call, Burlington CEO Michael O’Sullivan made a strong statement to the power of offline retail saying “in our business, which is a moderate off-price business, the nature of the treasure hunt and the average price point that we operate at mean that bricks-and-mortar stores have a significant competitive and economic advantage over e-commerce.”

The comment came after the bombshell that the brand would be dropping its eCommerce effort - one which drove only 0.5% of sales - to focus solely on offline retail. And while the decision goes directly against the common thinking, there is a lot of reason to be excited by it.

Burlington is seeing consistent year-over-year growth highlighted by February 2020 traffic that rose 8.3% above the baseline for the period between January 2017 and February 2020. This is markedly higher than February 2019 when visits that were 21.7% below the baseline. Looking at that same period, March and December of 2019 were the only months in the last year that didn’t outpace the same months in 2017 and 2018 in traffic. 

The key takeaway here is that this decision isn’t happening in a vacuum. Burlington is experiencing significant offline growth and they are doubling down on a channel that is clearly working. The decision to drop eCommerce doesn’t mean the brand will never do online again, it just likely indicates that when they do venture back, it will be centered around their strongest asset - their stores. 
Can Target and Walmart continue to show strength in the face of Coronavirus concerns? Could Burlington be signaling a new retail trend? Visit to find out.

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.
Digitally Native Brands Lean Into Brick & Mortar
Washington, D.C. Population Changes & 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
Grocery Year-End Update: Publix in the Spotlight
Three Ways Retailers Can Think Small to Increase Store Impact
Offline Beauty Is on an Upswing
The Evolving Migration Patterns of New York’s Florida Snowbirds Office Index: November 2022 Recap
How Viral Social Media Trends Can Drive Offline Engagement
Are You Ready for Some Football? Experiential Marketing Shows Promise
Mall and Shopping Center Trends For 2023
Retail Corridors and Indoor Malls: A Holiday Head-to-Head
Placer Bytes: Nike, lululemon, and GameStop Update Mall Indexes: November 2022 Update
Black Friday 2022: Consumers Hear the Call
Digitally Native Brands: Taking Off, Offline
Discount and Dollar Stores Leading the Pack
Turkey Wednesday 2022
Retail’s Evolving Holiday Season
Placer Bytes: Starbucks and Department Stores Ahead of Black Friday
Ulta: A Force to be Reckoned With
College Towns Drive Dining Growth
Foot Traffic Trends Reveal Consumers Ready for Holiday Cheer
How Retailers Can Win Big By Going Small
How Are Consumers Feeling Ahead of Black Friday 2022?
Off-Price, Hibbett, and Dick’s Pre-Holiday Check-in
Ho, Ho, Wholesale: Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s
October 2022’s Retail Rebound
Target and Walmart Ahead of the Holidays
Home Improvement: Leave it to the Pros
Despite Inflation, Holiday Season is Off to a Good Start Office Index: October 2022 Recap Mall Indexes- October 2022 Update
Americans Double Down on Fitness
The State of Grocery
CVS and Walgreens: The Wave Continues
Coffee Chains Brewing Up Visits Spotlight: Pizza Players
What Drove COVID-Era Urban Migration Trends?
Kroger and Albertsons: A Merging of Strengths
Texas Roadhouse Innovations Dishing Up Success
Holidays on the Horizon: Mid-Range and Luxury Shopping
McDonald's and Chipotle's Post-Pandemic Success
Announcing’s Q3 2022 Quarterly Index
5 Hot Restaurant Brands for 2023
Target Finds a Winning Deals Day Formula
Five Trends to Watch for 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
September 2022 Analysis: A Difficult Month and Time for Optimism
Inflation’s Retail Winners
Five Apparel Retailers to Watch Ahead of the Holidays Spotlight: Wawa’s QSR Pivot Mall Indexes: September 2022 Recap Office Indexes: September 2022 Recap
The Impact of Population Growth on Commercial Real Estate 
Starbucks' New Makeover
There's Somethin' About Pumpkin
Expanding Offline Reach
Breakfast Restaurants are Rising in Popularity
The Power of Labor Day 2022
Tourism in Miami Heating Up
Citi Trends on the Rise
Reaching Rural Consumers Through Retail Media Network
Darden Restaurants Cooking Up Success
The Home Improvement Sector: A Sign of Consumer Confidence
QSR Is Having a Northeastern Growth Spurt
Domestic Migration’s Ripple Effects
A Look Back at Back To School 2022
Kroger Digital Tell-All
The Return of In-Person Networking
The Reinvention of the American Mall Office Building Indexes: August 2022 Recap Mall Indexes - August 2022 Recap
Five Below’s Back to School Success
Plus-Size Fashion’s Staying Power
Placer Bytes: Best Buy & GameStop 
Petco Barking Up the Right Tree
Lipstick Effect Boosts Ulta’s Growth 
Placer Bytes: DICK's Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports