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Placer Bytes: Dick’s and Ulta Show Continued Strength

Ethan Chernofsky
March 10, 2020
Placer Bytes: Dick’s and Ulta Show Continued Strength

Two of the more exciting retailers have big earnings calls on the horizon, providing a unique opportunity to see if their 2019 end and early 2020 have lived up to the hype. While these reports take into account a wide variety of factors, the early foot traffic returns look exceptionally promising.

Ulta’s Strong Kick-Off

Ulta Beauty, one of’s picks to be a 2020 winner, looks to have kicked off the year the same way it ended 2019, on a tear of visit growth. From 2017 to 2018 the brand saw 8.9% visitor growth year-over-year, with 7.1% growth from 2018 to 2019. But, much of this bump was driven by growing strength in areas of a year that didn’t previously provide peaks in visits. 

So, seeing growth during a holiday period becomes especially important, as it asks about the potential for an existing area of strength to be further built upon. In this case, the returns are also impressive. From November 2019 through December 2019, Ulta saw a 4.7% increase in visits, something all the more impressive considering the shorter holiday season. 

Looking at visits compared to the baseline for the period from January 2017 through January 2020 hammers home this point. Visits in December 2019 rose 62.0% above the baseline, essentially even with December 2019. But, November and December had much stronger performances. Visits in November 2019 were 19.9% above the baseline compared to 9.1% above in 2018, and January 2020 visits were 0.1% above, far beyond January 2019’s 5.6% below.

The key takeaway? Ulta had a very strong 2019, which continued into 2020, with the only area of stagnation coming in a holiday season that was significantly shorter than previous years. All in all?  There is a lot to be excited about for Ulta in 2020.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Continues to Impress

2019 was a great year for the sporting goods giant. 2019 store traffic grew 17.8%, besting 2018’s impressive mark of 15.5% growth year-over-year. And amazingly, it seems as though the pace is continuing to pick up. 

Year-over-year visits between November 2019 and January 2020 were up 13.6%, including strong peaks over the holidays. January 2017 through January 2020 saw December visits rise 66.5% above the baseline, far beyond December 2018 visits that were 55.3% above. The strength continued into the new year when January 2020 visits were 10.3% below the baseline, compared to 18.3% below in January 2019.

This is all the more impressive because strategic moves to better target women and to strengthen its owned labels have yet to even show their full value.

Can Dick’s maintain its torrid pace? Will Ulta end 2020 with the same power as it kicked off the year with? Visit to find out.

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