Placer Bytes: Gap & Old Navy, Nordstrom & Nordstrom Rack & Macy’s

In this Placer Bytes we dove into the data surrounding apparel giants Gap & Old Navy, checked in on Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack and analyzed Macy’s continued recovery. 

A Tale of Two Stores: Gap & Old Navy 

Gap recently announced its plans to close multiple stores and shift focus more to outdoor locations, following suit of its sister brand, Old Navy.  And, after looking at year-over-year monthly data, we now understand why Gap is re-focusing its efforts.  Visits for January and February were up a staggering 14.4% and 33.4% for Old Navy, year over year, compared to visits for Gap which were down 3.2% in January and up 8.2% in February.  While both brands bottomed out in April amid COVID-19, Old Navy is seeing a much faster recovery than Gap. 

Monthly visits for September and October were down just 11.9% and 9.2%, year over year for Old Navy.  But, traffic to Gap was still down significantly 30.8% and 28.0%.  While this still shows movement towards 2019 levels, it is a far cry from Old Navy’s pace. 

The stronger recovery is likely due to many of Old Navy’s retail footprint being in outdoor centers, but the brand also offers low-value, which is certainly a huge advantage in the current economic retail environment. 

Nordstrom & Nordstrom Rack Seeing Similar Recoveries 

Surprisingly, Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack have been seeing similar traffic trends during and “post” COVID.  This is unusual as the Nordstrom brand offers relatively high-value, expensive items whereas its sister brand, Nordstrom Rack offers similar inventory, but at a much, much lower cost. As we’ve seen in previous reports, the off-price and low-value retailers have typically been outperforming the higher-end brands. But, as both brands suffered throughout coronavirus shutdowns, traffic has been moving slowly back to 2019 levels.  

June proved to be a bit stronger for Nordstrom Rack with visits down 55.8% compared to Nordstrom, with visits down 67.8%.  Both enjoyed a significant leap toward normalcy come August where visits were down 42.2% for Nordstrom Rack and 42.6% for Nordstrom, nearly identical.  

Both Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack garnered their best trafficked-months in October, with visits nearing 2019 levels reaching just 34.0% down and 35.7% down for Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack, respectively.  But weekly year-over-year visits in October are stagnant.  Despite a small jump for the week of October 12th, traffic hasn’t made significant gains back to normalcy.  And visits will continue to be affected with additional closures and restrictions looming. 

Macy’s Falls Slightly off Pace 

Similar to Gap, Macy’s announced plans to move beyond the traditional mall and test more on outdoor centers, with hopes that it will help the brand’s overall recovery. Macy’s foot traffic has been stagnant over the last few months and each month from July through September fell farther away from 2019 levels with monthly year-over-year visits down, 43.6%, 45.6% and 47.2% respectively.  However,  October did see a significant leap in the right direction with visits jumping to 36.2% down, year over year.

How will these apparel giants move forward?  Check back in with the blog to find out.

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