Placer Bytes: CVS, Tuesday Morning & Party City

In this Placer Bytes we take a closer look at one of retail’s top performing brands in CVS,  and dive into two that have experienced recent struggles in Tuesday Morning and Party City. 

CVS’s Recovery Continues 

A few weeks back we analyzed the pharmacy sector and saw CVS dominating against other brands.  And, it looks like its recovery is showing no signs of slowing down. While there was a slight dip in monthly  year-over-year traffic in September compared to the previous month, weekly year-over-year data heading into October is showing positive indications of a continued recovery. 

Weekly visits have continued to gain momentum as the brand hits pre-COVID levels. The week of September 28th generated traffic that was just 5.5% down. But, all the more impressive was the week of October 12th, when the brand saw visits spike to 1.2% above 2019 levels.  And while visits dropped slightly below ‘normalcy for the following week, the continued pace of recovery could be seeing a boost from the brand adding 1,000 new COVID-19 rapid result testing locations. And, with the recent resurgence in cases across the United States, there is a likely correlation between the spikes in traffic and the need for easy and immediate testing. A further testament to the innovative concepts driving value for CVS.

Tuesday Morning Trails Behind 

After an impressive summer, traffic for Tuesday Morning seems to be taking a turn for the worse as a result of over 100 store closures.  Yet, the real question will center around whether Tuesday Morning can rebound post Chapter 11 procedures. And after a very difficult September when visits were down over 24.6% year over year, weekly data from October shows a sign of revival.

Traffic for the weeks of October 5th, October 12th and October 19th were down just, 19.0%, 19.3% and 16.4%  respectively. And Tuesday Morning also falls within two sectors that have been flourishing during the pandemic, home goods and off-price. So, if the brand can take advantage of its unique positioning within these two industries, it could be poised for an exceptional bounce back. 

No Celebrations for Party City 

Halloween is undoubtedly the best time of year for retailers such as Party City, and we certainly saw impressive traffic numbers for the brand last year. However, this year will likely be quite different for the brand.  With continued regulations and lingering health concerns,  people aren’t running to these locations to try on different costumes, especially masks, and are likely turning to alternative channels, such as e-commerce or DIY for their costumes this year. 

And, looking at recent monthly and weekly data conveys this very narrative.  While the brand enjoyed a bit of success in the summer months, with visits down just 4.9% and 6.0% for July and August respectively, the traffic gap took a sudden and drastic turn  in September.  Visits for the brand were down, 22.1%. This is quite significant given September is one month prior to Halloween, when most people are searching for decorations and costumes. 

And, as we took a closer look at weekly data, the weeks leading up to the holiday are showing no signs of a needed boost in traffic. In fact, visits for the week of October 12th and October 19th were 32.4% and 41.5% down year over year, respectively – the worst they’ve been in over a month. Obviously, this is related to the normal peaks the brand sees during this period, but does indicate that Halloween 2020 is highly unlikely to match past successes for Party City.

Can CVS maintain its impressive traffic steak?  Will Tuesday Morning and Party City get back on the road to recovery?  Check back in with to find out.

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